With Everton now finally hiring a replacement for the recently departed Carlo Ancelotti, the Toffees can begin ramping up their preparations for the new campaign.
It’s a huge summer for Rafa Benitez who will be keen to hit the ground running after a number of protests against his appointment.
Unfortunately for the 61-year-old, he may head into the new campaign without one of Everton’s most creative players.
Last month it was revealed his former club, Real Madrid, were an option for him this summer.
Sadly for the Toffees, they’re not the only European giant looking to secure his services.
That’s according to reporter, Pipe Sierra, who took to Twitter this week to reveal the following piece of information: “AC Milan is interested in the Colombian midfielder James Rodríguez (29) and has made it known to his representative Jorge Mendes. Negotiations with Everton will start next week.”
Benitez has only been in the Everton hot seat for less than a day but he is already facing a huge blow.
The Spaniard arrived on Wednesday afternoon suggesting that the ambition shown by Farhad Moshiri and co was eye-catching and played a major part in luring him to Goodison Park.
Benitez has only ever wanted to return to the Premier League and it must have been quite the package in order to tempt him to Liverpool’s great rivals.
However, the idea of Everton’s marquee signing from 12 months ago departing after just a year is likely to leave him pretty angry.
A number of the club’s star men have been linked with the exit door in recent weeks with Dominic Calvert-Lewin attracting interest from elsewhere as well.
He seems more likely to remain in Merseyside after failing to make an impression at Euro 2020 but James is someone that could have been a huge influence under Benitez.
After all, the duo have already worked together during the Spanish coach’s small tenure in Madrid.
The Colombian featured just 11 times under the new Everton manager but it was a profitable combination with the creative midfielder scoring three goals and registering six assists.
Based on that alone it’s a huge early blow for Benitez. He will have been looking forward to managing him for a second time.