Connect in the back of the net

Every single transfer window involves a high profile saga which seems to drag on for almost the entirety of the summer and this year it is likely that James Rodriguez’s protracted move away from Real Madrid will take on this role.

The Colombian will leave the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu this summer with several clubs interested in his services and it has been intimated that the Spanish giants would be willing to do a deal at around £50 million, although it will take some period of negotiating to get the European Champions down to such a fee.

 

Roller-coaster adventure

Rodriguez’s adventure in the Spanish capital couldn’t have ended any further from how it began.

He arrived as the superstar of the 2014 World Cup and the very latest in a long line of Florentino Perez’s ‘Galacticos’ yet he will leave the club with his very final moment being left out of Zinedine Zidane’s entire matchday squad for the Champions League final.

Zidane and Rodriguez has never really been able to strike the relationship that the 25-year-old had with Carlo Ancelotti and early fears over his weight as soon as the Frenchman arrived seemed to have doomed his chances of ever returning to his role as a regular starter.

Isco has surpassed him in the coach’s thinking and the former Monaco playmaker has been almost exclusively reserved for matches when Los Blancos need to rest regular players or when the club is taking on a team they should really beat with consummate ease.

 

A highly-effective creative spark

Despite this, his numbers for the campaign are impressive in relation to minutes played and this has ensured that there is a rather large market for him when he decides his future. In just 13 La Liga starts in the 2016/17 season Rodriguez managed to score eight goals and contribute six assists.

Creativity is Rodriguez’s best attribute and he can be positioned anywhere across a front three or just behind a centre-forward.

With Jose Mourinho desperate to add goals to his Manchester United team there are worse options out there than the Colombian although there remains serious questions about his application and just where he would fit in at Old Trafford.

As recently as the latter weeks in May it was understood that Rodriguez would be allowed to leave Madrid yet it was unclear just how keen Mourinho was on bringing him to Manchester. The sensational collapse of Antoine Griezmann’s move to Old Trafford has seen the club’s plans change and it may well be the case that their previous ‘unsure’ stance on the forward may have altered with it.

United are not alone in their interest as Internazionale are very keen on adding a star name to their team with new coach Luciano Spalletti tasked with getting the Nerazzurri back into the Champions League in his first season in charge.  Initially, the Italian giants hoped to replace Ivan Perisic with Rodriguez but it is looking more and more likely that the Croatian will stay in Milan.

Bayern Munich are looking to bring in a marquee signing this summer to help Carlo Ancelotti’s push for a Champions League title in what will likely be his last season in Bavaria before Julian Nagelsmann arrives. With Alexis Sanchez proving difficult to prise away from Arsenal, it could well be that the Colombian star is given a chance to work with a coach he knows well once again.

Chelsea’s transfer window is off to a slow start with the only real work going into securing the return of Romelu Lukaku although Everton continue to play hardball over a transfer fee. The focus aside from the Belgian forward is on departures with Michy Batshuayi likely to move on after he declared he couldn’t spend another season on Chelsea’s bench and as such any previously held interest in James Rodriguez is now very much on the backburner.

 

Marketable

Marketability is important in high profile transfers and Rodriguez has just that.

Despite being the forgotten man in Madrid, he is still the highest profile footballer from South America after Lionel Messi and Neymar and for a commercial juggernaut like Manchester United this is at the very top of the list of considerations.

With Wayne Rooney set to depart as soon as an offer arrives, there will be a space for the Colombian and if United can accept that they will recoup a small amount of the transfer fee through shirt sales and other sponsorship agreements then a move for him may begin to look more appealing.

 

Win-win for both parties

Real Madrid themselves are happy to move him on after securing a famous La Liga and Champions League double this term.

They will promote Marco Asensio to a more prominent role in the team after a wonderful debut season and Kylian Mbappe will likely join the club be that this summer or the next.

There is no place for James Rodriguez anymore, but in truth this is as much down to circumstance as anything else and he will join a club this summer where he could return to his best form be that in Milan or Manchester.

 

Written by Chris Winterburn

Follow Chris on Twitter @Chriswin4

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