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Could the Premier League be James Rodriguez’s platform for revival?

It’s nearly six years since James Rodriguez lit up the World Cup in Brazil.

The mercurial No10 took home the Golden Boot despite Colombia’s elimination in the quarter-finals.

His Puskas Award-winning volley against Uruguay will forever be one of the greatest World Cup goals, but it was his talismanic performances as the creative centre of an entertaining side that made his popularity skyrocket.

I know what you did a few summers ago

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I know what you did a few summers ago

He wasn’t an unknown quantity before 2014, having been a key figure in an impressive Porto side that won three consecutive league titles and the 2011 Europa League.

His €45million transfer to Monaco in 2013 raised many eyebrows as the principality club stated their ambition to compete in Ligue 1 after earning promotion from the second tier.

However, he became a mainstream superstar almost overnight in Brazil, attracting the attention of Real Madrid who signed him for £63million in the afterglow of the World Cup.

Cream of the crop

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Cream of the crop

A look at Rodriguez’s trophy cabinet would suggest his time since his ‘big move’ has been thoroughly enjoyable.

He’s won eight trophies in Real’s colours, including two Champions League crowns.
He added two Bundesliga titles and a DFB-Pokal medal to his collection while on loan at Bayern Munich from 2017 – 2019.

However, from an individual perspective, his stock has fallen steadily since his heroic efforts in Brazil.

The creative left-footer was often seen as a luxury at the Bernabeu who did not fit seamlessly into systems that prioritised a forward line built on the understanding between Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, plus Gareth Bale’s habit of producing magic moments.

Despite some streaks of top form, appreciation in Munich cooled gradually to the point the club confirmed they would not opt to make him a permanent resident of the Allianz Arena.

A time for reflection

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A time for reflection

Having played just 341 minutes of league football in 2019/20 (injuries have hampered his involvement as well as Zinedine Zidane’s reluctance) Rodriguez is now said to be actively seeking an overdue transfer away from Madrid.

The rumour mill has churned out multiple Premier League clubs who may consider giving the 28-year-old a chance to revive his career.

Let’s take a look at each option.

ARSENAL

Years in the making?

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Years in the making?

The Gunners are said to be long-time admirers of the Colombian.
While many fans would surely welcome a player of such pedigree, the position of cultured playmaker who doesn’t necessarily suit Mikel Arteta’s tactics is currently filled by Mesut Ozil.

Such is the luxury, it’s difficult to imagine the German and Rodriguez in the same squad.
In theory, the latter could replace the former, but would there be much point in that?
EVERTON

Sweet toffee

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Sweet toffee

Carlo Ancelotti signed Rodriguez in 2014 and the attacking midfielder’s best season at the Bernabeu occurred under the Italian’s watch.

Rodriguez was linked to Napoli when Ancelotti was employed in Naples and he’s now being tipped for a reunion with his former gaffer at Goodison Park.
While some may think it’s improbable the Toffees would be able to land such a high-profile signing, you would have said the same about their chances of hiring Ancelotti as manager not long ago.

Everton have spent a fortune since Farhad Moshiri’s takeover in 2016, with Alex Iwobi, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Jordan Pickford, Yerry Mina and others piling through the door for considerable sums.

Rodriguez is out of contract in Madrid next year and so Los Blancos are unlikely to demand a sizeable transfer fee if he were to leave this coming summer, certainly nothing beyond Everton’s finances.

WOLVES

One of the gang

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One of the gang

This one is all about the agent.

Wolves fans are hesitant to admit Jorge Mendes has an influence on their club but the fact is he counts Nuno Espirito Santo, Ruben Neves, Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez as clients.
Wolves’ recent recruitment has been heavily reliant of Mendes’ connections and so it’s not unthinkable the so-called ‘super agent’ could engineer Rodriguez to Molineaux.
The Colombian is arguably Mendes’ most high-profile client after Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho.
The Midlands club continue to go from strength to strength since promotion from the Championship, coupling a Europa League run with a league campaign that currently sees them just five points adrift of the Champions League places.

When Rodriguez was stealing the show at the 2014 World Cup, Wolves had just earned promotion from League One — pairing the two together would have been delusional fantasy.

But now the club have established themselves as one of the better teams in the world’s most-watched league, it may not be so ridiculous after all.

LEICESTER

Clever fox

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Clever fox

The Foxes are currently linked with another notable attacking midfielder who has been on loan at Bayern Munich recently.

Transfer columns are tipping Philippe Coutinho for a reunion with Brendan Rodgers this summer with Barcelona prepared to admit they were wrong to fork out £140million for the Brazilian in 2018.

Like Rodriguez, Coutinho will be hopeful of finding a platform to revive his career after a stutter with Munich proving to be a false dawn.
Unlike Rodriguez, the 27-year-old has experience of the Premier League.

Assuming Leicester qualify for next season’s Champions League (whenever that may be), they will be in a position to finance a significant transfer/contract.

If Rodgers has identified this specific profile of player as a must-have come then transfer window, then Rodriguez may well be next on the list below Coutinho.


NEXT: The hardest Champions League goalscorers quiz in the universe

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