Raúl Rodríguez, a 27-year-old central defender for La Liga side RCD Espanyol, may be headed to the Houston Dynamo according to various reports out of Spain. The move would likely be the first to be borne of technical director Matt Jordan's scouting trip to the Spanish region in November.
Rodríguez, a native of the Catalonia region of Barcelona, emerged as Espanyol's first-choice centerback in the 2010 season and has seen 80 appearances for the Spanish side. Versatile across the backline or in center of defense, Rodríguez has become a target of several clubs after falling out of favor with new head coach Sergio González and making only a single league appearance this season.
Austria's Red Bull Salzburg and La Liga second division's Real Zaragoza (as well as other second division clubs) have also inquired about the player but it appears that the Dynamo may be ahead of the line. According to one report, Rodríguez appears to prefer Zaragoza as a destination but there are various financial hurdles to clear before joining the team.
As highlighted by Matt Jordan in the Dynamo Form video series, Spain's deep economic woes are beginning to provide promise for foreign teams (like Houston) to lure away players with the guarantee of regular paychecks that some clubs cannot ensure. Landing a young multipurpose defender from the region could be of great use in filling the defensive gaps that torpedoed Houston hopes last season.
The European transfer window remains closed until January 1 so new information might be scarce over the next week. We will keep Dynamo Theory readers updated as the situation progresses.
(h/t to @Reefa_k of the DC United/SBNation blog BlackandRedUnited.com for the tip)