The curious case of James Rodriguez. Perennially linked with a move away from Real Madrid, but somehow, he’s still there.
A two-season loan move to Bayern Munich looked like being the the turning point, but his Bavarian adventure was average at best, and the German giants opted against a permanent deal.
That has left the Colombian in limbo once more. Back in Spain, Zinedine Zidane has made it clear that Rodriguez is no longer in his plans (as if he hadn’t already) with just 13 outings across all competitions doing little to convince him otherwise.
With his Los Blancos deal set to expire in 2021, his previously astronomical valuation will have taken a hit, meaning the door has swung open for other clubs to swoop in and attempt to reinvigorate the career of a player once considered the most prized signature in football.
Here we assess the potential options for Rodriguez, with a number of Premier League sides among those who could be tempted to offer the star of the 2014 World Cup another crack of the whip.
With the coronavirus having a significant impact on the spending power of clubs across Europe, few sides outside the Premier League have the means necessary to spend big when the transfer window opens. Potential suitors in Serie A and La Liga are likely to take a more cautious approach to signings, leaving Rodriguez with even less options than before.
Paris Saint-Germain remain one of the few clubs outside of England with the spending power needed to sign the attacker, but even still, that doesn’t necessarily constitute them making a move.
With one of world football’s most lethal forward lines, where the French side can actually strengthen is arguably at the back, not the front. Sure, Julian Draxler hasn’t quite hit the heights expected of him since his move from VfL Wolfsburg, but would Rodriguez be an upgrade on the German? You wouldn’t think so.
Just because they have the money doesn’t mean they’ll spend it, and this looks like a non-runner.
Likelihood Rating: 1/10
Interest from north London in Rodriguez is nothing new. The club made contact with the 28-year-old last summer, before eventually opting for fellow Madrid teammate Dani Ceballos on a season-long loan after Rodriguez distanced himself from a move to England.
With Mesut Ozil‘s best years now behind him, it is no secret that a creative midfielder is needed to boost Mikel Arteta’s squad. Ceballos has endured a mixed bag since the summer, with some impressive displays being halted by a hamstring injury that ruled him out of action for a number of months.
The key to any deal for Rodriguez would be unearthing his unquestionable talent, and if Arteta could rekindle the level of performance shown during his debut Madrid term, then there is no doubting he’d be a valuable asset.
However, Arsenal‘s recurring issue in the transfer market has been recouping fees for outgoing players. Some estimations have Madrid’s valuation as high as £65m, which would be an almighty risk on the Gunners’ part. Should he flop, their minuscule budget would been obliterated for nothing and, in reality, it would require a significantly reduced fee for this deal to even be considered. Yet, as we’ve seen in the past, this would be such an Arsenal thing to do.
Likelihood Rating: 3/10
It seemed for all the world as if Rodriguez was going to move to SSC Napoli last summer. His time at Bayern had come to an end, and a Serie A switch looked likely with Carlo Ancelotti remaining interested in the player he initially signed for Madrid back in 2014.
Now in charge of Everton, talks of a reunion have persisted, as the Italian begins laying the foundations for a Goodison Park revolution. A squad overhaul is inevitable, and the addition of a big-name star such as Rodriguez could be the springboard for a new era in Everton’s history.
A change of formation would likely be required, though, with Ancelotti’s favoured 4-4-2 setup not in tune with Rodriguez’s style. Not someone to track back frequently, it could leave the midfield exposed, unless Richarlison returns to a wide midfield role and Rodriguez plays off Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Either way, a player of his quality would not be amiss in the Toffees’ squad. Considering the previous relationship the Colombian and Ancelotti have had both in Madrid and Germany, it could act as the renaissance in Rodriguez’s career he so desperately craves.
Likelihood Rating: 6/10
Making up the final of the Premier League trio interested is Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves. One of the success stories of the last two campaigns, Wolves have gone from being a newly-promoted outfit into one of the division’s most consistent performers – with even Champions League football within their grasp.
European football would appeal to Rodriguez, and the idea of operating in front of Portuguese duo Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho would be an enticing prospect for any playmaker.
Something that also works in Wolves’ favour is the player’s agent, Jorge Mendes. The agent has strong ties with the club having secured them countless signings in the past, and his role in any potential deal could set Wolves apart from other interested parties.
It’s a move that on the outside seems like a perfect fit. Taste of a new division along with European football, in a side with talented ball-playing central midfielders, there’s no reason Wolves wouldn’t be of interest to Rodriguez.
Likelihood Rating: 7/10
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