James Rodriguez arrived at Real Madrid following an impressive 2014 World Cup with Colombia. He was one of the most talented playmakers in the world, and had nothing else to prove for AS Monaco. He dazzled in the French Ligue 1 and was ready to jump to a more competitive league.
Fast forward to 2017 and no one knows what’s going on with James. The Colombian hasn’t settled at Santiago Bernabeu and hasn’t seen many minutes. And let’s not discuss about him being in the starting XI, as James only has seven starts this year.
It’s clear that manager Zinedine Zidane prefers other players. Let’s face it, no one is taking Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema or Gareth Bale out of the starting XI. So James’ best chance to thrive is as a substitute, and he hasn’t adjusted. Isco, Alvaro Morata, Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asencio all seem to be above James in the manager’s pecking order. And it’s not like Real Madrid employs a natural n°10 role in which James can thrive. As a result, he ends up playing as a winger, role where he isn’t really effective.
There’s no easy solution for this problem. James is obviously unhappy and he voiced his frustration right after Real Madrid won the FIFA Club World Cup in December this year.
“I can’t guarantee if I’m going to stay here. I’ve had offers and I have seven days to think about it. I’m happy at Real Madrid but I want to play more,” Rodriguez told reporters. “I feel a bit bitter about not playing in the final but I’m happy we won the trophy. Ideally I’d stay at Real Madrid forever but things don’t always turn out as you want. I have to consider everything and maybe look for a way out.”
Zidane, however, already said James isn’t going anywhere during the January transfer window. It seems the Colombian will fight for another six months, but if things don’t change then James will leave during the summer transfer market.
It’s not like he doesn’t have suitors. Chelsea and Manchester United have been tracking him for quite a well now. PSG would love to sign him as well. And there are always one or two surprise teams that could try to sign him.
The problem would be that Rodriguez will cost a lot of money. Real Madrid acquired him for €75M, so it would make sense for Los Blancos to try to recover at least some of the investment made two years ago.
He certainly has enough talent to make any team that signs him quite happy.
We have a few weeks before the market closes, but there’s one solution to this problem. James needs to look for greener pastures. It’s the only way he will be able to re-launch his career.
At 25 years of age time is still on his side. But he needs to move quickly before it’s too late.