Rodwell signs

FREDERICIA, DENMARK - JUNE 09: Jack Rodwell during the England U21's training session at Montjasa Park Stadium on June 9, 2011 in Fredericia, Denmark. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)


The Southport-born 21-year-old has signed a five-year deal and joins the champions and Community Shield winners for an undisclosed fee.

His acquisition fits perfectly with manager Roberto Mancini's aim to plan for the future and for the evolution of his title winning side.

Rodwell can play as a defensive or attacking midfielder and adds to the complement of England internationals in the manager's squad. He will wear the 17 shirt.

The news certainly caught everyone out when it broke shortly before yesterday's Community Shield win over Chelsea.

Most of us had been concentrating on reported pursuits of Robin Van Persie, Daniel Agger or the Friday comments from Roberto Mancini, in which he lamented the lack of transfer activity so far this summer.

In some quarters the reception to the Rodwell signing has been lukewarm. It is a move that doesn't contain the 'stardust' of a Sergio Aguero for instance, and certainly not that that the signing of Van Persie would bring.

There is perhaps also the feeling that the signing is one where City are settling for second best; thwarted and frustrated elsewhere. Neither does there seem an obvious fit for Rodwell at present. He arrives at the club with that particular area of the squad well stocked so there is the concern that he get slightly lost 'in the system' - as James Milner and to a greater extent Adam Johnson have done.

What does Rodwell bring though? He is young (just 21 years old) but someone who has been a feature of Everton's squad for the past few seasons. Physically he is strong (despite suffering at certain times from injury) and he is versatile, able to fit in both the defensive and midfield positions, with the move throwing more doubt on Nigel de Jong's future.

Not all signings are made for the same purpose. Some are made for immediate impact (think Carlos Tevez), some time to instill a mentality and culture (think Yaya Toure) and some with one eye on the future. There is no doubt which category Rodwell falls into. £12 million (plus add ons) isn't a huge fee and you are most definitely buying the potential of him ultimately being a dominant part of the team for over a decade or so.

There is no great expectation on him this season. Certainly he will play a part, but he will be afforded the luxury of being able to bide his time, learn and continue his development.

Whilst lacking the glamour of other targets, this could to ultimately prove to as important a signing as any.

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