James Rodriguez has stunned Real Madrid by turning down the reigning European champions, offering hope to Manchester United of reviving a deal for the AS Monaco superstar who currently leads the race for the 2014 World Cup Golden Boot after scoring six goals for Colombia.
The 22-year-old has decided to stay put at Monaco rather than securing a dream move to the Bernabeu, according to Mundo Deportivo, who quote Rodriguez as saying: "I stay at Monaco, it's a great club.”
Of course, it’s possible that Rodriguez is bluffing, in order to keep his current employers sweet and risk attracting any unnecessary controversy. After Colombia beat Uruguay towards the end of last month, the playmaker told reporters that he preferred a move to Real Madrid over Barcelona.
Meanwhile, his father confirmed his son’s desire to play for the ten-time European champions, revealing that his James’s idol growing up was the great Zinedine Zidane.
Real Madrid likely to continue their pursuit
Real Madrid are so determined to sign Rodriguez this summer that they are even willing to sell Argentina winger Angel di Maria, who was one of the club’s best performers last season. Club president Florentino Perez and head coach Carlo Ancelotti are keen to unveil two new Galacticos this summer: Rodriguez, and his international and club teammate, Radamel Falcao.
Los Blancos are also poised to announce the signing of Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos once the Germany international’s involvement at the World Cup finals in Brazil comes to an end.
James Rodriguez: Scout report
Manchester United set to pounce?
Manchester United are interested in signing Rodriguez, but will not contemplate paying the €75 million fee that AS Monaco are reportedly demanding. At this moment in time the Red Devils are pre-occupied with securing a move for Di Maria, but that deal will only happen if Real Madrid land Rodriguez.
The player’s agent, Aytekin Erayabakan, recently stated that several clubs were interested in signing his client this summer. He revealed that any interested club would need to “spend upwards of £45m”, before mentioned Real Madrid, Barcelona and Napoli as three of the clubs keen on the South American ace.
Do Manchester United need Rodriguez?
If Louis van Gaal opts to prioritise the signing of Di Maria over Rodriguez, it would make perfect sense. The revered Dutch coach already has several quality playmakers in his ranks, including Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa.
But United require an injection of quality on the flanks, hence their pursuit of the world-class Di Maria, who would be guaranteed a starting spot at Old Trafford.
Still, the opportunity to sign a player with as much quality and potential as Rodriguez may prove too tempting for Van Gaal to resist.