REAL MADRID

Manchester United first in line for Real Madrid star James

Man Utd have identified James Rodríguez as one of their priority signings... if Real Madrid agree to sell. PSG and Juve are also interested.

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Manchester United first in line for Real Madrid star James

Should Real Madrid be open to offers for James Rodríguez this summer there will be no shortage of suitors for the Colombia international. AS understands that Manchester United are intending to muscle their way to the front of that hypothetical queue and sources have confirmed to this newspaper that the Old Trafford ownership are willing to pull out all the stops to bring James to the Premier League, if Real decide that he is surplus to requirements at the Bernabéu.

James on the bench...

James keen to stay at Real Madrid

James has stated his desire to remain at Madrid but the winner of the 2014 World Cup Golden Boot has seen his stock plummet this season. After a promising debut campaign in the Madrid, the attacking midfielder has been sparsely used under both Rafa Benítez and Zinedine Zidane. Injuries have curtailed James’ contribution to the side in 2015-16 and the tabloids have been kept nourished by tales of his alleged fondness for the tiles of the Spanish capital.

James’ current standing on the pitch can be most accurately gauged by his minute count. In all competitions the Colombian has featured for 1,858 minutes in 32 appearances, figures that place the midfielder closer to the likes of Nacho and Lucas Vázquez than Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, the latter two having missed a raft of games this season through injury. Isco has featured considerably more often than his teammate despite sharing his penance on the bench over the latter weeks of the season with Zidane preferring Vázquez as the 12th man in the absence of the BBC triumvirate in his preferred 4-3-3 formation.

Other interest around Europe

PSG and Juventus have also been credited with an interest in James, with the Ligue 1 champions mulling an astronomical bid, but it seems United have decided that the Colombian could be the key to unlocking one of the Premier League’s most stagnant attacks. Relegated Newcastle scored more goals at home than Louis van Gaal’s widely criticized team during 2015-16 and Norwich, who joined the Magpies in slipping out the top flight, scored one fewer.

United fans have been crying out for a genuine world-class attacking talent to add some coherence to a disjointed front line and James would certainly fit that bill. Whether Real will be willing to part with their €80 million man is another matter.