As the 2018 World Cup in Russia inches ever closer, the star of the last World Cup enters a potential career crossroads. Colombian James Rodriguez won the Golden Boot with six goals as his country made it to the quarter-finals after missing the three previous tournaments.
His performances earned the then-23-year old midfielder an €80 million transfer to European champions Real Madrid, for whom he scored a career-high 17 goals in all competitions. The world was at his feet and James was expected to become the next in a long line of Real Madrid stars.
His second season started off well as he picked up two goals and an assist in the second game against Real Betis, but the Colombian missed 10 games with a muscle injury and struggled to reestablish himself in Zinedine Zidane’s starting XI. He finished his second season with eight goals and 10 assists but was left on the bench for Real’s Champions League triumph.
This season was another issue as the 25-year-old only started 13 league games and was left completely out of Real’s squad as they won back-to-back Champions League titles. Enter: Jose Mourinho and Manchester United.
The Red Devils have been rumored to be interested in for James and currently have the best odds to sign him according to several bookmakers, ahead of rivals Chelsea, Inter and PSG. The Colombian still has plenty to offer and wants to be playing regularly to be in the best possible form heading into Russia and the emergence of Spanish internationals Isco and Marco Asensio have removed any serious need for Zidane to keep James.
Real will likely want as much if not more than what they originally paid for him, but United have some of the deepest pockets in the world and already have a transfer relationship with Real, most recently with the transfer of Angel Di Maria.
Adding a player like James Rodriguez could be the move that pushes United back into Premier and Champions League title contention. Bringing the Colombian to Old Trafford needs to be priority No. 1 after the club’s pursuit of Antoine Griezmann ended, and there can be no excuses not to bring him into the fold.