By, Kyle Gibson
As Jose Mourinho looks to strengthen the Manchester United squad in the summer transfer window, Kicking It breaks down players whose names are caught in the Old Trafford rumor-mill.
The Player: James Rodriguez
Rodriguez was one of the stars of the 2014 FIFA World Cup for Colombia before and made the big-money move from AS Monaco to Real Madrid. In his first season he had a huge impact in La Liga, with 13 goals and 13 assists.
That form dropped in 2015-16, largely due to injury and a change in lineup under Rafa Benitez. Rodriguez was an unused substitute in the Champions League Final last Saturday.
James has his name thrown into the hat for manager Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United transfer war-chest. So, let’s examine the pros, cons and the likelihood of the signing.
1. He’s a dynamic midfielder who can double as a central midfielder and winger. Mourinho will more than likely ship out Juan Mata, which would open up space. United doesn’t have many other attacking midfielders (we will get to one of the others in the next section), so this could help bolster the attack.
2. He scores some amazing goals and can provide some amazing assists. Just look at these highlights from last season.
3. James could be a signing to excite fans again. After the stagnant reign of Louis van Gaal, fans are looking for excitement again at Old Trafford. Mourinho isn’t known for free-flowing soccer, but his clubs tend to score plenty of goals. This is a big name who can provide some exciting finishes and flashy moves.
- Rodriguez is not known for his defensive capabilities, which is unfortunate because Mourinho teams are known for overall team defense. This most recently led to a freezing-out of Oscar while he was at Chelsea.
- What will happen with Wayne Rooney? The United legend insists that he wants to play in midfield beyond this season, after making the switch in recent weeks. If Rodriguez displaces Rooney in the middle, that could hurt the team balance. Playing him on the right could slow the development of Jesse Lingard. I think that James is personally better in the center.
- Real Madrid players are always rumored to make the jump to United but never do. Recent cases are Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, former Red Cristiano Ronaldo and Toni Kroos. The Spanish press has even more misinformation than the English press and rumors swirl all the time in Madrid, so you never truly know what’s happening.
Likelihood of Signing: Moderate
The chances should be lower than this, because the Manchester Evening News reported that Rodriguez wanted to stay at Madrid. However, this came after winning the Champions League, which is always a high even if you don’t play in it.
Also, Rodriguez could just be batting his eyes at United and other clubs.
I’m not willing to go above moderate on this signing, but I’m not willing to go any lower.
Follow Kyle Gibson on Twitter, @KyleisGibson.