With no Champions League football at Manchester United next season, Jose Mourinho will need to work his magic if he is to attract world-class talent to join him at Old Trafford.
While Zlatan Ibrahimovic could arrive on a free transfer when his contract expires at Paris Saint-Germain in July, Mourinho will be hoping to sign a couple more big names as he aims to take the club back to the top of English football again.
Mourinho may struggle to lure some players from top European clubs without the promise of playing in Europe’s elite competition but his attempt to sign James Rodriguez from Real Madrid has been made considerably easier.
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The Colombian has been told he can leave the Bernabeu this summer after he’s failed to play regular first-team football under Zinedine Zidane. That’s according to El Confidential who claim that Los Blancos are currently holding out for around £62 million for the winger.
That fee is similar to what Madrid forked out for him after the 2014 World Cup with the Spanish club hoping to recuperate all of the money they splashed out two years ago.
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The European Champions splashed the cash on James after he took that tournament by storm, being crowned top goalscorer as well as winning the FIFA Puskas Award for his sensational strike against Uruguay.
Following his big-money move to Madrid - a transfer that made him the fourth-most expensive player in history - James appeared to settle into life in the Spanish capital immediately.
His 17 goals in all competitions in his debut season represented that and it appeared it was very much a case of money well spent.
However, this season has been a different story for the 24-year-old. He only managed to feature in 26 La Liga matches - having started just a handful - and didn’t play a single minute during Madrid’s triumph over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final.
After the match, James appeared to dismiss speculation surrounding his future by telling reporters, per The Sun: “In football you never know but I want to continue here and my idea is to have many more years with the club.
“I am happy here. All the people close to me are happy too. It’s the ideal club and I want to be here.”
With his contract not expiring until 2020, Madrid hold all the cards and will be hoping to receive as close to the massive amount they shelled out for him. However, El Confidential’s report states that the club will likely lower their valuation towards the end of the window if they haven’t received their asking price.
The signing of James is exactly what United are crying out for. Mourinho’s arrival has cast doubt over Juan Mata’s future and the side will be craving more creative players. Louis van Gaal’s side only managed to score 49 goals in the Premier League last campaign and the arrival of James would certainly help improve that tally.
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