It’s fair to say James Rodriguez has failed to reach the heights expected of him at Real Madrid.
The Colombian arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu from AS Monaco for approximately £71 million shortly after his impressive performances at the 2014 World Cup.
The attacking midfielder fired his nation to the quarter-finals in Brazil and ended the tournament as top-scorer with five goals to establish himself as one of the hottest prospects in world football.
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But what was meant to be his dream move to Madrid has gone awry following an impressive debut season during which he registered 13 goals and as many assists in La Liga.
Speculation over his future at the club has been escalating in recent months – hardly a surprising development considering only eight of his 15 appearances in all competitions this season have been starts.
His unsettled situation has naturally prompted interest from not only several European sides but suitors from the increasingly powerful Far East region, too.
It’s no secret that even players competing at the highest level are taking note of the financial rewards on offer in other parts of the world.
Every eye-watering transfer that sees a household name leave Europe for the likes of China, Qatar and Saudi Arabia enhances their standing in world football.
However, Spanish media outlet AS reports a Chinese Super League club came close to pulling off what would've been the most seismic transfer between the two regions yet.
The aptly named Hebei Fortune – managed by ex-Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini – lodged a stunning £95 million bid to prise Rodriguez away from the Spanish capital.
What’s more, the Chinese outfit were prepared to offer him a tenfold increase on his current £58,000-a-week contract with Los Blancos.
Rather joining Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gervinho at Hebei Fortune, Rodriguez has turned down the opportunity and continue competing for a place in Zinedine Zidane’s team.
It likely would’ve been considered a shame if the Colombian international ended his time at the elite level at just 25-years-old – the same way many football fans reacted to Oscar trading Chelsea for Shanghai SIPG.
However, if reports of this nature are anything to go by, the prospect of money tempting world-class footballers away from the European scene during their peak years is unlikely to diminish any time soon.