One of the latest to be linked with a move to Old Trafford is Real Madrid attacking midfielder James Rodríguez. According to Diario Madridista, José Mourinho is willing to shell out €80 million for the Colombian international, who has fallen out of favour since Zinedine Zidane took charge at the Santiago Bernabéu. But is the prospect of James in red a realistic one? Let’s take a look.
Yes, it will happen
Rodríguez will almost certainly be on the move this summer. Though we can't substantiate Diario Madridista's claim that the 25-year-old has already held a private meeting in which he has expressed his desire to leave, we can be sure that a player of his talent and age won’t be happy with benchwarming. He's started only 29 league games over the last two seasons — a combined total that just matches the number of starts he was handed by Carlo Ancelotti in his first season at the Bernabéu.
In spite of his lack of appearances, Rodríguez remains one of the very top players in world football, and his remarkable displays at the World Cup in Brazil three years ago is indicative of the fact that he really can do the business at the very top. United are sure to be at least considering the prospect of making a move for Rodríguez, who, in turn, must surely be pondering taking them up on their offer.
No, it won’t
There are questions about what Rodríguez’s arrival would mean for the rest of the United squad. Though he’s capable of playing both out wide and deeper in midfield, his prime position remains just behind the striker. Henrikh Mkhitaryan may have failed to impress this season, but could Mourinho already be preparing to dispense of the Armenian’s services? Juan Mata has had a much better year — would Mourinho really be willing to give the former Chelsea man the boot a second time?
Similarly, United are certainly not the only party who’d be interested in signing Rodríguez. According to the source cited above, Mourinho’s old rival Pep Guardiola is also sniffing around the playmaker, who could end up on the other side of Manchester. Chelsea and Juventus are both mentioned as potential destinations, with Rodríguez’s only stipulation reportedly that he joins a team competing in the Champions League. Let’s hope we don’t cock up that final against Ajax ...
What we think
We think James Rodríguez is one of those players that’s just too good to pass up on; the kind of player for whom you can always find some space in the squad. Of course, there’s always the chance he could end up like an Ángel Di María, but we’d probably still ultimately suggest that even that gamble was ultimately worth taking. It’s pretty clear that there’s more to come from James, and he seems like the kind of player that Mourinho would like. Will it actually happen? We’d be surprised — United have more urgent gaps that need plugging — but delighted all the same.