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James Rodriguez to Manchester United? He wants to leave Real Madrid, apparently!

Manchester United slumped to a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat against West Ham that, ultimately, could prove to have a long-term impact on the team. With United all but set to miss Champions League football for the second time in three years, the club is set to take a massive financial cut by missing out on the competition. However, there may be a brighter side for United fans this week, as links between the club and James Rodriguez have strengthened considerably.

Reports say that James Rodriguez is looking for a move to Manchester United this summer because he put his home up for rent, according to multiple reports. Based on the touted fees, this £63 million outlay would likely represent the biggest transfer in Premier League history, and one could argue James is exactly what United needs at the moment.

James Rodriguez made his name playing for Porto, before moving to Monaco, where he became a key player in Monaco’s system from the right-wing. In just 38 appearances for Monaco, Rodriguez racked up 10 goals and 14 assists from the wing in a defensive league, and at just age 22 he was called out as one of the best young products in the world.

His ascension continued at the World Cup, where he won the Golden Boot despite the fact Colombia only made it to the quarter-finals. To this day, most people believe James was the best player at the tournament, with slick passing, dribbling and finishing skills seeing him win all kinds of awards. That summer, he moved to Real Madrid for a massive fee to replace Angel Di Maria, who became infamous for his fall from grace in the Premier League. Though United recovered most of the di Maria fee and he is rebuilding his reputation in Ligue 1, James Rodriguez’s stock has fallen massively since he joined Real Madrid.

Struggling to cement his place in the starting lineup, James Rodriguez, 24, has just eight goals and 10 assists in 31 appearances this season, which, while impressive, isn’t quite the tally you would expect from a world-class player at Real Madrid alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

Rodriguez has also experienced his fair share of disciplinary problems this season, with reports of fitness issues, involvement in the sacking of Rafa Benitez, and general misbehaviour on the training ground at the Bernabeu. This, combined with Rodriguez’s underperforming, leaves questions for Manchester United. If the aforementioned Ronaldo or Bale were available, United would be on the phone with Real Madrid right now. The club will have significant reservations about experiencing another Di Maria transfer.

Rodriguez seems like an unlikely transfer with United’s current status outside the Champions League places, but United also possesses significant financial allure. Rodriguez’s positioning seems perfect for United, with the ability to play a Juan Mata-esque role on the right with more defensive impetus. However, for £63 million, United could likely buy two players who have had similar seasons to Rodriguez. At his best, Rodriguez could be the perfect foil to Martial on the right with the potential Zlatan Ibrahimovic down the centre or even Marcus Rashford.

Though nothing of this has come from the media as of yet, it seems likely that the only scenario in which James Rodriguez could end up at United would see keeper David De Gea going the other way. David De Gea was worth £30 million plus Keylor Navas, and he since extended his contract and won United’s Player of the Season award (again), meaning he would likely be worth much more than Rodriguez. In a market without inflation, United would expect to pay half De Gea’s potential fee for the Colombian, and any more than that would potentially see United holding the short end of the stick.

Rodriguez is a transfer that represents a lot of risks in a time in which United needs success. However, if done correctly and with a bit of luck, Rodriguez could be an excellent transfer. At the end of the day, the ultimate variable that puts the transfer into question is the exorbitant fee. If the Colombian was going for £35-40 million, there would likely be no question about the deal, but it is likely Real would demand more than Rodriguez is worth in a mission to recuperate the astronomical fee they spent on him in the first place.

Written by Aaron Moniz

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