James Rodriguez must fight the desire to cash-in on his scintillating World Cup form and spurn the advances of Real Madrid to stay at AS Monaco beyond the summer. The Colombian playmaker has attracted additional transfer interest from Manchester United and Tottenham, but a possible Premier League switch should also be placed on hold for another year at least.
The 22-year-old has emerged as one of the leading stars in Brazil, and after scoring the potential goal of the tournament in a 2-0 win against Uruguay in the last 16 on Saturday, his burgeoning reputation as one of the most exciting young talents in world football is at an all-time high.
However, Monaco have already made clear their intention not to sell the attacking midfielder for anything less than a fee close to the world record £85 million deal that took Gareth Bale from Spurs to the Santiago Bernabeu last summer.
That alone should put an end to all speculation.
Rodriguez only moved to Stade Louis II 12 months ago, joining from Porto in a deal worth just over £35 million. His debut season in France was relatively modest in terms of goalscoring return, netting nine goals in 34 appearances in Ligue 1.
The South American was one of the highest chance creators in all of Europe in 2013/14, but his arrival still passed under the radar, given the number of other high-profile signings snapped up by the Principality, with compatriot Radamel Falcao drawing plaudits as the most notable acquisition.
However, in Falcao's absence Rodriguez successfully stepped up and filled the void for both club and country, when the former Atletico Madrid striker suffered a cruciate ligament injury in January, cruelly ruling him out for the remainder of the campaign and the World Cup that followed.
Falcao or Rodriguez - who is better?
Assuming that the 28-year-old will take a little while to rediscover his best form, Rodriguez could have an even more important role to play for Monaco at the start of 2014/15, and he should see out at least another year of his contract and help the recently appointed Leonardo Jardim attempt to topple Paris Saint-Germain's two-year title supremacy.
The noises coming from Rodriguez suggest he might look to move on again this summer, though, having expressed a desire to join Real Madrid when questioned about the prospect of playing in Spain in an interview with local radio station Cadena Cope.
"It would be a dream to play in Spain, one of the best leagues in the world," he was quoted saying by the Daily Telegraph. And, when Barcelona or Madrid were mentioned as possible destinations his response was emphatic: "I prefer Real Madrid."
Manchester United interest
It leaves Louis van Gaal's alleged hopes of taking the £80 million man to Old Trafford in tatters, which is just as well given the array of attacking talent already at Manchester United's disposal, that could ultimately hamper the rapid progression Rodriguez is currently enjoying.
A move to Real Madrid should be approached with equal caution, and the Colombia international need look no further than 2012 Golden Boy award winner Isco, who excelled at Malaga but has seen his development stall after a disappointing debut season in the Spanish capital.
There's reason to argue that Rodriguez would be committing career suicide by pushing for a Real Madrid transfer. He'd be much better off staying at Monaco to continue honing his skills in France, where he'll also have the opportunity to test himself in the Champions League, rather than settling for a bit-part role at the Bernabeu.
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