James Rodriguez left in limbo once again this summer

James set to end 2 year stay in Bavaria

One of the biggest names in world football is set to be made available for transfer once again this summer, with Colombia international James Rodriguez expected to end his two year spell with Bayern Munich and return to Real Madrid.

The 27 year-old has been one of the brightest talents in European football since he shot to prominence during the 2014 World Cup, where he ended the tournament with the golden boot.

His performances in Brazil earned him a massive £63m transfer from Monaco to Real Madrid where he was handed the no.10 shirt. There was huge pressure on him to deliver and after a productive first year which saw him score 17 goals in 46 games under Carlo Ancelotti, things started turned sour.

The departure of the Italian led to a drop in minutes on the pitch, with Rafa Benitez then Zinedine Zidane unable to find space for him in the team. The more his Real Madrid career progressed the more it looks like he was a Florentino Perez signing, we all know his love for 'Galacticos'.

On a substantial wage and struggling to get in the starting XI, in 2017 he was shipped out on a two-year loan deal to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich where despite some fantastic showings, injuries have prevented him from really pushing on.

James Rodriguez Colombia
James shot to prominence at the 2014 World Cup and has provided us with glimpses of his obvious quality, but injuries and inconsistency have impacted on him doing it regularly

15 goals in 67 appearances at the Allianz Arena over the last couple of seasons isn't a bad strike rate, but it appears it's not enough for him to earn a permanent move there. A £43.5m option to buy was inserted in his deal and neither party (James or Bayern) appear keen to get it over the line - so he's set to return back to Spain.

Zinedine Zidane is still in charge at the Bernabeu and with him being the man who initially shipped out the Colombian, he's expected to be on the move again. No one can doubt James' talent but he just needs to find a home where he can stay fit and get regular minutes under his belt.

It looks like he's going to be left in limbo once again and the next move is extremely vital for the progression of his career with him now at the age of 27. But where should he go? Let us know your thoughts @FootyAccums

James needs to find a new home

No one can question what an incredibly talented footballer James Rodriguez is. The Colombia international has a knack for producing the unexpected. He can score goals, create goals, find a team mate from anywhere, when it comes to raw technical ability there aren't too many better.

But now at the age of 27 years-old and potentially leaving his third club in six years, it's vitally important that he gets some stability in his career. When you look at James' ability, his CV and what he's capable of you really feel that he could get into any team in world football, but consistency and more so injuries have really effected this.

Ever since he made his Real Madrid debut back in 2014 it feels like he's never really been able to string together a real run of games or positive momentum. He's worked under several great managers who all know the skill he possesses, but the majority have found it tough to implement it successfully.

On the international stage with Colombia he is THE main man and he flourishes. Everything revolves around him and he excels when he pulls on that famous yellow jersey and captains armband. But since moving to Real & Bayern he's not the main man, he's surrounded by other big names and he has to fit into a system, rather than have it tailored to him.

Is he a no.10? Is he a winger? Is he a no.8? Managers have worked hard to try and incorporate his skillset into several formations and roles, with only really Ancelotti (Real Madrid 14/15) and Jupp Heynckes (Bayern 17/18) being able to get the best out of him.

James Rodriguez Bayern Munich
The next move in James' career is arguably the most important of his career

Last term he was was dropped further back into more of a conventional no.8 role with license to roam by the great Heynckes and he rewarded the Germans faith with one of his most productive seasons. 22 goal involvements (8G 14A) in 39 appearances in all competitions makes impressive reading, but the departure and retirement of the 74 year-old, along with several niggling injuries have stopped him really building on that.

Fast forward to this season, he's been involved in 13 goals (7G 4A) which has also seen him fail to score in the Champions League under Nico Kovac. The Croatian is also rumoured to depart Bavaria this summer too, but it hasn't impacted on James' or the clubs decision to extend his stay.

Born in the wrong era?

You need to possess so much technical ability to succeed at the elite level and James' certainly has bags of that, but the physical side of the game is also very important, especially in the area of the pitch that he plays.

This is about being athletic and keeping yourself fit - which is obviously easier said than done. James has struggled severely with injuries over the last few seasons which has stopped him pushing onto the heights that many initially tipped him for when he joined Real Madrid five years ago and now at the age of 27, he should be at the peak of his powers.

When looking at him and the type of player he is you really feel that he was born in the wrong era. He has all the tools to be world class but as the game has grown more athletic he's been left behind to an extent. Players are fitter than ever and work harder than ever, meaning that time on the ball is limited and you have to combat that. Gone are the days when you were given time and space to pick that pass or take your time on the ball.

He needs a system tailor made to him where he's the main man and this is perhaps why he flourishes so much for Colombia. They build their team around him and as of yet (barring his time at Porto and Monaco) this hasn't been the case at club level.

The 2017/18 campaign under Jupp Heynckes remains his best over the last few seasons and that was with him dropping slightly further back as no.8. He had defensive shields in Arturo Vidal and Javi Martinez alongside him which allowed him to do his thing and his next club needs to do something similar.

James Rodriguez
We saw the best of James in a new, deeper role under Jupp Heynckes in the 2017/18 campaign. But under Nico Kovac he's found it much more difficult to produce on the big stage

Juventus are linked with him and if he could feature in a three man midfield alongside hard working duo Aaron Ramsey and Blaise Matuidi they could well see the best of him. Same with Chelsea, Jorginho and N'Golo Kante would do the defensive work and he could really push on - but a move there wouldn't be possible till next summer.

We should now be talking about Rodriguez as one of the games elite players and whilst he's up there, he hasn't pushed on to the level we all expected when he shot onto the scene at the 2014 World Cup.

It's absolutely imperative that the next step in his career is the right one, whether that's fighting for his spot in Madrid or moving abroad once again. He could well be one of the summer biggest transfers, watch this space...


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