It must be tough for Real Madrid misfit James Rodriguez. Cast aside by Real Madrid, Bayern Munich have also decided he isn’t worthy of their shirt after opting not to buy the player following the completion of his two-year loan period. There are clubs interested in the Colombian playmaker though, so who are they, and what are the best odds on the James Rodriguez transfer this summer?
At first glance, it appears to be a two-horse race. James will have to take a slight step down, but he still has top sides Napoli and Atletico Madrid vying for his signature. It seemed that Naples was going to be his destination, with Carlo Ancelotti a huge admirer, but the Serie A side have seemingly struggled to meet Madrid’s valuation, which is believed to be in the region of a very modest £36m.
With James no doubt intrigued by the prospect of linking back up with the affable Ancelotti, who was his coach at Real Madrid, it may well be the case that the board at the Bernabeu have upped the asking fee, as they’re no longer bound by the terms of their loan agreement with Bayern. Either way, Napoli’s hesitation has allowed Atletico Madrid to come to the fore as the 1/4 favourites in this market.
Diego Simeone has reportedly identified James as a cheaper alternative to Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen, as the Argentine boss looks to replace the creativity lost due to Antoine Griezmann’s departure from the Wanda Metropolitano. However, Ancelotti is refusing to give up on his man, saying last week:
‘I’m not aware of a deal with Atletico. We’re still talking for James, a player that I really like. I’m very attached to James, I rate him very highly and he can certainly improve our team.’
A ringing endorsement indeed, although there may be another spanner in the works for Napoli. Or to be more precise, an Old Lady standing in their way. It’s been suggested that Juventus have joined the race for the 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner, with the Serie A champions apparently willing to let Paulo Dybala leave Turin and ready to partner James with Cristiano Ronaldo.
The bookmakers are giving those rumours plenty of credibility, with the Bianconeri 2/1 to sign James this summer. Napoli meanwhile have drifted to 7/2. There have been suggestions that Zinedine Zidane could hand James a lifeline following Marco Asensio’s pre-season injury, but that seems highly unlikely.
Instead, Paris Saint-Germain are 6/1 to snap up James as they continue to be linked with an array of attacking players following Neymar’s resolution to leave the Parc des Princes. A player-plus-cash deal has even been mooted for the Brazilian to make a stunning move to Madrid, but a likelier swap deal could see Eriksen move to the Spanish capital with James heading in the opposite direction. With that in mind, Tottenham are could be worth an outside bet at 12/1.