domingo, noviembre 28, 2021

Where to next for Colombia’s James Rodriguez?

Colombian star James Rodriguez is yet again at the center of transfer speculation with the Cucuta-born attacking midfielder set to depart German side Bayern Munich this summer.

Bayern Munich confirmed on Tuesday that the playmaker has returned to training following injury ahead of the final title-deciding league game on Saturday, but it is expected that his loan deal will not be renewed and he will return to parent club Real Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane’s return to Madrid as manager makes it unlikely that James will be part of the club’s plans for next season, according to Spanish sports outlet La Macra, with the Frenchman having axed the Colombian from the side two years ago.

This situation has fueled speculation that the 27-year-old will have to find a new club with Juventus, Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain all rumored to be interested in securing his services.

The French club captured the headlines on Monday when it responded to an Instagram post by the Colombian confirming his return from injury.

As the respective seasons come to a close, there are a a lot of moving parts in the background as clubs set to shuffle the deck ahead of the restart.

A deal taking James to the French capital would be more likely if Brazilian star Neymar were to move to Real Madrid, while a move to Manchester United would probably see under-performing Paul Pogba move to the Spanish capital in part exchange.

James was snapped up by the Spanish giants Real Madrid after top scoring at the 2014 World Cup in a $98 million deal, with the attacker enjoying an excellent debut season under Carlo Ancelotti scoring 17 goals and registering 18 assists in all competitions.

The former Envigado player subsequently fell out of favor with new coach Rafa Benitez and later with current coach Zinedine Zidane, falling down the pecking order and seeing his game time dramatically reduced.

It was Ancelotti again, who swooped for James as manager of Bayern in 2017 but since the Italian was sacked, the Colombian has failed to capture any real consistency with the German giants.

Despite a temporary revival of fortunes under Jupp Heynckes, Colombia’s second-highest all-time goalscorer has failed to make an impression under Croatian coach Niko Kovac, making just 20 league appearances this season.

Since his loan move to Munich in 2017, James has made 43 appearances, scoring 14 goals overall.

New Colombia coach, Carlos Queiroz will be hoping that James is not drawn into a prolonged transfer saga over the summer as the national team prepares for the Copa America in Brazil.

Colombia will face Argentina, Paraguay and guest nation Qatar in the group stages of the showpiece, which starts in June.