While Everton very quietly went about their transfer business this summer, there was a big saga that engulfed Goodison Park.
That happened to revolve around James Rodriguez, a man who was desperate to escape Merseyside and move elsewhere.
James missed a big portion of games towards the back end of last season due to fatigue and hasn’t been seen in a competitive sense on a regular basis for Everton since April.
The Colombian did play in pre-season but hasn’t played a single match in the Premier League since Rafa Benitez took charge.
His agent was trying to engineer a move to Italy while a return to former club Porto was also on the table.
A swap deal involving Luis Diaz was proposed and Everton were confident of reaching an agreement. Ultimately, Rodriguez couldn’t find a suitable club and has stayed with the Toffees.
Greg O’Keeffe issued an update on the playmaker shortly after the deadline passed, revealing what he’d been told and also the remarkable wages he was earning.
The Athletic reporter said: “Suggestions I’ve heard, which I can’t fully describe, is that you might be looking at north of £200,000 a week when you factor in everything – [the] full extent of his deal.
“So this is a player who’s on eye-watering money. And unless something changes, could well be kicking his heels till January at least.
“You know, he’s been told, surplus to requirements, face doesn’t fit – he’s been told that. He had an opportunity to leave, he wouldn’t budge on his wage demands.”
Everton may have signed the former Real Madrid star on a free transfer but if he does really earn around £200k-per-week, supporters should be fuming.
Rodriguez contributed to ten Premier League goals last term and was their most creative player for key passes per match. That being said, his attitude on and off the pitch over the last six months has been extremely questionable.
The idea that he was too tired to play should have sent alarm bells ringing at the back end of last season and his discipline this term has also been bizarre.
Rodriguez had to self-isolate at one stage and during a remarkable Twitch stream, he declared that he didn’t even know who Everton’s next opponents were.
For any player at the club, that is a strange admission, but for one who earns as much as he does, it’s even worse.
Cutting ties with him this summer, especially in return for Diaz, would have been the perfect solution.
Instead, Benitez will have to decide whether he wants to call on a player who doesn’t want to play for the club.
Rodriguez’ talent is undeniable but his commitment is poor. Fans should be extremely unpleased with how it’s all unravelled.