Leeds United broke their transfer record when Rodrigo signed from Valencia last week and the deal could be worth up to £36m when add-ons kick in.
However, fans hoping to see him play some part in the Premier League clash with Liverpool in a fortnight are set to be disappointed.
Writing in an article on the Athletic on Monday morning, Phil Hay said that Rodrigo would be offered “no leniency” by Marcelo Bielsa, who demands a level of fitness from his team that most new players just don’t have.
And he said it could be a “while” before he does play.
“Rodrigo is a veritable coup and the only niggle for Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa is that they will not be able to put the striker to work immediately,” Hay said.
“He has international duty with Spain to fulfil and the standing joke at Elland Road as the transfer was finalised on Friday was that their most expensive purchase in 20 years may not be seen in all his glory for a while.
“Bielsa made personal overtures to Rodrigo, talking him into the move, but the rules on fitness and preparation apply across the board at Leeds.
“No exceptions, no exemptions and no leniency. Jean-Kevin Augustin is a good example to Rodrigo of how thoroughly he will have to conform before he plays.”
When will Rodrigo play?
Leeds United fans are right to be excited by Rodrigo – he’s quite the catch and it’s got other sides in the Premier League looking at the Whites in a different light.
However, he’s also a bit of a gamble and Leeds don’t have a brilliant track record in this department.
They took a gamble on Jean-Kevin Augustin in January, a big-name striker who arrived far from fit.
In the end, he didn’t make a start or score a goal for Leeds in one of their worst transfers ever.
Rodrigo missed the last five games of last season in La Liga, and he’s had a knee injury that kept cropping up in the 19/20 campaign.
However, Hay claims he was put through a “stringent” medical and Leeds are convinced that there are no long-term issues.
When will he play? That’s a tricky one. Hay claims that he stopped training with Valencia when the Leeds deal came about and he hasn’t played a competitive game since July 1.
It will be interesting to see if he plays any part in the Spain game against Germany on Thursday.
That will give some clue as to his match fitness – then it’s just a case of him building up his Bielsa fitness.
As Hay says though, it could be a while.
In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay: This is what the Leeds United players think of Rodrigo signing