Real Madrid star James Rodriguez pondering over a January move to Manchester United, according to the latest reports.
Spanish paper Diario Gol claim the 25-year-old, who was also linked with Arsenal and Chelsea, is prepared to leave the Spanish giants in the next transfer window. And he’s apparently told his agent Jorge Mendes that his favoured destination is Old Trafford.
Mendes also represents Manchester United chief Jose Mourinho. Rodriguez has fallen down the pecking order at Real since the arrival of Zinedine Zidane.
He made 32 appearances for Real last season, scoring eight goals and providing 10 assists – but was dropped for the campaign’s showpiece Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.
The Galacticos had wanted to raise £60m for the attacker – but bids over the summer were not forthcoming. Rodriguez joined the La Liga outfit for £56m after the 2014 World Cup.
But he’s failed to establish himself as a first-team regular and looks to be deemed surplus to requirements. It’s suggested Tottenham, Arsenal, Paris St-Germain and Monaco are also in the hunt for his signature.
Jose Mourinho knows what he likes. He has his ways and those ways have delivered him an astonishing haul of honours and accolades over the past decade or so. The Portuguese coach is European football’s go-to-guy for instant success, but only when he is left to do as he pleases when he pleases.
As the new United manager, Mourinho has seemingly been given free reign to shape the Old Trafford side as he likes. Summer signings Eric Bailly, Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are all in the special mould of the Special One, with the impending signing of Paul Pogba only underlining that Mourinho has directed United’s transfer policy ahead of the new season.
However, United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward should consider what impact Rodriguez’s signing could have on what Mourinho is building.
There would appear to be no place in United’s starting lineup, meaning he would be football’s most expensive misfit since Angel Di Maria last wore a red shirt.
If Rodriguez ends up at United this summer his transfer would surely be one pushed through by those at the club keen to sell as many shirts as possible rather than Mourinho.
Maybe Woodward, riding the crest of a wave that has seen Ibrahimovic and possible Pogba wash up at Old Trafford, is getting carried away with himself, intent on turning Man Utd into the Premier League’s very own Galacticos.
On the basis of the players who have pitched up at Old Trafford this summer, United appear to have learned the lessons of their transfer window failings over the past few years.
But the signing of Rodriguez would see them repeat the same mistake they made with Di Maria two years ago. They’d be paying a Premier League record fee for a player with question marks against his commitment, fitness and form, and unwanted by Real Madrid. All their good work could be undone.
In the 4-3-3 formation expected to be used by Mourinho at Man Utd this season, Rodriguez would be a round peg in a square hole.
Even if that shape becomes more of a 4-4-2 with Rooney used as a strike partner for Ibrahimovic, the Colombian would have no obvious starting place.
In essentially every way, Rodriguez’s rumoured move to Old Trafford makes no sense.