According to the Daily Mail, Carlo Ancelotti is nearing a £63 million move for Colombian sensation James Rodriguez, currently at Monaco, who will pair up with new signing Toni Kroos. The move will placate Real Madrid supporters, who have watched their biggest rivals Barcelona snap up Luis Suárez.
Where would he fit in?
It appears Ancelotti is switching back to a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the midfield, behind James in the playmaker role. This leaves Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema up front, with tactical flexibility crucial. Whether Madrid will continue to play a counter-attacking style remains to be seen, given Kroos is a player who thrives with possession, however James is comfortable both in possession, and on the counter-attack, so is perfect for any system. Goals from midfield were lacking last season, with Isco top scoring on eight, so Ancelotti will be hoping the signing of James will upgrade Los Blancos in this department.
Who will be leaving?
The biggest casualty of James' arrival could be Ángel Di María. Speculation persists around the Argentinian, arguably Madrid's best player last season, with Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain heavily linked. Coupled with the sale of Sami Khedira, the move would balance the books and ensure Madrid do not fall foul of the financial fair play rules.
Isco's playing time would be massively cut by the arrival of James, and given he struggled to make Ancelotti's side last term, a move elsewhere would be sensible. However, due to his precocious talent, and the amount of games Madrid play in a season, it is unlikely he will be allowed to depart the Santiago Bernabeú.
Paying over the odds
The transfer fee required to sign James is exorbitant, yet symptomatic of modern football. Monaco don't particularly need, or want to sell the 23-year-old, with the only positive again being the financial fair play regulations. James' talent is unquestionable, he was the youngest player to win the Portuguese golden ball, whilst he claimed the golden boot at the World Cup despite Colombia exiting at the quarter-final stage. However, paying £63 million for a player that is yet to test himself on a consistent basis in Europe's top leagues is a gamble.
Youthful look to the side
Real Madrid's starting eleven has a menacing look to it, if and when James signs. A major plus for Ancelotti is the average age of the team, with Dani Carvajal, Raphaël Varane, Kroos, Bale and James all 25-years-old or younger, whilst still containing vast experience of winning trophies. It is a team that's entering its prime, whereas other galactico sides have been nearing their peak on arrival. This should ensure they are hungry for success, and keen to avenge a lacklustre 3rd place finish in La Liga last season.
So whilst signing of James isn't a necessity for Real Madrid, it sure is a sensational one. In the company of some of the best footballers in Europe, the Colombian should go from strength-to-strength, and ensure Madrid keep pace with Barça.
Next season is shaping up to be a battle.
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