Already, the Rafa Benitez era at Everton looks like a controversial one.
While undoubtedly a hugely successful manager, the Spaniard’s history with bitter rivals Liverpool caused a great deal of fan frustration prior to his appointment as Carlo Ancelotti’s replacement.
Indeed, the former Real Madrid boss looks as if he’ll have to battle against sections of the support from the get-go and, perhaps, he will do that without the services of James Rodriguez.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the Colombian could be one of many high-earners who could be sold in order to raise funds as Benitez looks to stamp his own authority onto the squad.
With that in mind, GIVEMESPORT writers Jonathan Gorrie, Joshua Cole and Sam Brookes have given their verdicts on whether or not that would be a good idea.
What was the point in signing James Rodriguez if they’re going to give up on him so quickly?
Granted, the Ancelotti factor might now be gone but Everton need to prove they are bigger than any one manager and convince top players they are capable of appealing to their biggest names in their own right.
Rodriguez certainly showed flashes last season (recording the most goal-creating actions in the team last season via FBREF) and selling him now would lose so much face.
If Everton want to hit the next level, they have to be stronger.
“Whilst there is no doubting Rodriguez’s talent, he hasn’t quite lived up to expectations at Everton since making a sensational switch to Goodison Park last year.
“A combination of a lack of consistency as well as a failure to maintain his fitness ultimately limited the impact that he was able to make for the Toffees in the Premier League last season.
“When you consider that the Colombia international has missed a total of 26 games of football in the past two years, it could be argued that Everton may be better off without him due to his woeful injury record.
“However, it is imperative that Benitez lines up an adequate replacement for Rodriguez if he is considering a sale as a failure to do so may lead to a season of a struggle in the top-flight.”
“Now is the time for Everton to cash in on Rodriguez.
“The Colombian playmaker started last season brilliantly, registering six goal involvements in his first five league appearances. At that point, it looked like Everton had pulled off an unbelievable signing.
“However, he then went on to record just five more goal contributions for the rest of the league campaign. This is not a bad return but given how well he started; it was a little underwhelming.
“He also missed 15 league matches due to various ailments, and this should be a major concern for Everton moving forwards. With Rodriguez now into his thirties, his condition is unlikely to improve in the years ahead.
“Having blown hot and cold last season and struggled with fitness issues, Everton should look to offload Rodriguez if they receive a suitable offer.”
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