Rafa Benitez was appointed as Everton’s new manager in the summer because he was keen to get rid of James Rodriguez, according to journalist Paul Brown.
Why would Benitez be happy to let James go?
The pair previously worked together at Real Madrid and, during that period, Benitez was forced to deny he and James were at loggerheads with each other.
His lack of opportunities came despite the Colombia international finding the back of the net 17 times in his first campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Rumours of tension between the pair went up a notch when, in 2015, James hit back at Benitez as he played 90 minutes and scored while on international duty just a matter of days after his club manager had claimed the winger was out of form.
Prior to Benitez’s Goodison Park arrival, James also complained that players of his quality were becoming less attractive to managers.
What has Paul Brown said about the situation?
Everton initially looked to appoint now-Tottenham Hotspur head coach Nuno Espirito Santo before turning their attentions towards Benitez.
Journalist Brown believes Benitez’s previous differences of opinion with James led to the Everton hierarchy seeing him as an ideal candidate to replace Ancelotti.
He told GMS: “I genuinely think one of the reasons for bringing Rafa Benitez in was because of this problem.
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“I think Everton knew the history and were looking for someone who would not mind the club getting rid of James Rodriguez.
“I see what Benitez is doing. He wants to play more direct with more pace and there isn’t so much room for a James type in that way of playing.
“It’s no surprise James has been on his social media talking about the death of the number 10 and how clubs just want athletes now who don’t have the skill or guile of players like him. They’re all coded messages.”
Does James have a future at Everton?
It seems as though James may have already played his last match in a Toffees shirt as he has not featured since Everton’s narrow defeat to Sheffield United in May.
According to the Times journalist Paul Joyce, the 30-year-old winger is currently in Qatar having talks over a potential transfer.
James also infuriated Everton fans last month when, ahead of the Merseyside club’s trip to Leeds United, he admitted to not knowing who his current employers’ next opponents were during a live broadcast on his Twitch account.