Barcelona has lost the war for a wonderkid defender.
Rodrigo Caio, who has been watched by the Blaugrana for a long time, has reportedly signed with La Liga rivals Atlético Madrid, according to ESPN Brazil. The 21-year-old defender is one of the biggest Brazilian promises, but struggled to get a lot of playing time this year at his current club, São Paulo FC, mainly due to a serious knee injury he suffered in 2014.
São Paulo has recently changed coaches, and new manager Juan Carlos Osório has said clearly that he wants to use the player as much as possible. That could mean Atléti won't get the player at the July transfer window. Instead, Caio would finish the 2015 season in Brazil and move to Spain only in January of next year. Since Caio hasn't gotten too much playing time so far, the Colchoneros are comfortable with letting him finish out the 2015 campaign to get experience and form before moving to La Liga in six months time.
According to the reports, the Tricolor have agreed to a €12,5 million deal who could increase to €15 million by the end of the 2015/16 season because of performance bonuses. Sources told Barça Blaugranes that the Catalan giants never offered more than €8 million, a proposal that didn't come close to attracting the Brazilian powerhouse.
Caio is a CB/DM hybrid who plays beautifully at both positions. He has been compared to PSG star Thiago Silva because of his classy touch, vision and ability to make tackles without fouling. He makes up for his height with a fabulous work ethic.
Rodrigo Caio is the second promising São Paulo defender Atleti have signed in recent years; the other one, João Miranda, is now a world-class center-back. If Caio turns out to be the same, maybe Barça will regret not increasing their offer.