When talking about James Rodríguez and his future, the first consideration should be: who says it? Not what it says, or when, or how much, or why. It is who says it that makes the difference between the globe and reality.
For two months now, he has been related to the Colombian with Manchester United and with a dream landing, given his inactivity and his mediocre season numbers, in the Premier League. And it may be that in a cartwheel of the market it happens. But today, right now, the situation is the same as that described by the journalists covering British football ‘in situ’ at the time: the player’s profile is not the one sought by coach Solksjaer.
And that now can go out to spend as a footballer’s girlfriend at Harrod’s after the amazing campaign auction that returned the team to the Champions League (he finished third, with direct quota, after being eliminated before the suspension). But precisely his success is that he did not only deal with emptying the wallet but he privileged what he considered necessary to strengthen his staff. Smell, nothing more.
This was how the services of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Dan James and Bruno Fernandes were done in that course. The Portuguese one alone already gave him infinite credit with the strong man of the club, Ed Woodward: he scored 10 goals in the 20 games he played since his arrival in February and is a midfielder! From there there are some priorities.
What does it take to overshadow Liverpool and Manchester City?
Basically wardrobe. One like the one that Real Madrid de Zidane has to win the Spanish League without anguish and fight in Europe. Solskjaer knows that he has a base team to fight the important thing, but he needs backups to rotate in the face of emergencies, especially now that it will be necessary to play Champions League games in the 2021/2022 season. He knows that he is not Victor Lindelof and is looking for a relief even if it costs a ‘Van Dijk’.
Afterwards, he needs to strengthen the environment because, although he has Nemanja Matic has been playing a brilliant role, the DT is looking for a younger, more dynamic man, a Declan Rice, who could cost him around 65 million euros. Of course, his ‘object of desire’ for the position is Grealish, the man who saved Aston Villa from relegation, who is only 24 years old, but would therefore cost no less than 90 million … These are not days to invest so much , no matter how fancy he is … because he also needs reinforcements in other positions.
Solksjaer does not want to put unmanageable pressure on his jewel Mason Greenwood, the boy at 18 became undisputed by the far right, scoring 17 goals in his first season. So he wants a luxury booster: Jadon Sancho. Another expensive caprice because Borussia Dortmund would not let him out for the 95 million that the Old Trafford club plans to offer and hopes to press at least until 120.
And then there is the attack. It is true that at United they all hit him well, starting from Pogba and going through Bruno. But Solksjaer wants fresh legs and a little competition for Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.
How will the payroll be debugged to make room for reinforcements?
As reported by The Mirror newspaper, the door is open for at least six players: Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Chris Smalling and Alexis Sánchez. That must cover two signings, or at least one of the expensive ones.
And how would James fit in there?
Again it depends who says it. If he is a Colombian medium, James knows how to play as an end, in Colombian Selection he has had great benefits opening the game and not only as a playmaker, his natural position. What’s more, at Bayern and Real Madrid, when he had to delay to the area with more brand work, he did it … Ok, it wasn’t his best version, but he already has.
The point is that it is not what United needs right now, neither by profile, nor by age, nor by salary. « Now that the market window has been opened, Mendes is trying to beat it in England. The strategy of using low credibility tabloids to make it sound and inflate the supposed interest continues, » journalist Luis Fernando Restrepo explained from London.
James costs 8 million euros a year and except for a shared salary payment with Real Madrid, or even a total payment from the Spanish club to get rid of the mess until December (when the Colombian will be able to negotiate as a free agent), it will not be easy landing in a leading team of the Premier. Except for an inspired Manchester United, with a vertical game and at the speed of light, which does not miss breaks or dependencies on anyone.
That is not to mention that there are ‘many roosters in the chicken coop’ in a template that is around 670 million euros and in which they do not seem very willing to stand in line behind a James without prominence, who would need adaptation and as if that were not enough does not speak the language. They will say that there are party poopers but although it is Spanish, the implementation of the famous Brexit would not help either …
Solksjaer cured a ‘sick’ team of lack of confidence due to betting on the players who have just given Champions a spot. It is something like Zidane, who played it and will play it for those who have given him titles at Real Madrid, for example. And there James did not fit despite his undeniable talent. Why would I have room now?