James on the market
Real Madrid tried to offload James Rodríguez over the summer and had even agreed terms with Inter Milan, only for the player to flatly refuse the offer, according to a report in today's edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport centred around the Suning Holding Group, the Chinese holding company which acquired a controlling stake in the Italian club this year.
La Gazzetta, who were guests at the Chinese investors headquarters in Nanjing, claim that after investing heavily during the summer transfer window to bring in João Mário (40 million euros), Antonio Candreva (22M), Éver Banega and Gabriel Barbosa 'Gabigol' (27.5M), president Zhan Jindong launched a bid for James Rodríguez.
Staying with Madrid
Several meetings were held, the paper reports, and on the final day of the inscription period Real Madrid accepted Inter's offer for James which was five million euros superior to the 80 million euros they had paid Monaco for the player in 2014. But the operation was derailed by James who refused point blank to join Inter, and instead promised he would convince Zidane that he would triumph at the Bernabéu. Following the 0-2 win away at Espanyol in which he opened the scoring, he admitted that he had received an offer but wanted to stay put.
Asensio wins over Zidane
By the end of last season, Zidane was less than happy with James and the Colombian's situation hadn't improved by the start of the present campaign. He was left on the bench for the first official game of the season, the UEFA Super Cup final against Sevilla and was the last substitution in spite of the team being wirhout Toni Kroos, Cristiano and Bale (Isco and Asensio started). After the match, Zidane spoke about James' position: “He is a Real Madrid player, but we have a very large squad. We'll see what happens”. Zidane had already decided that Marco Asensio would be his first choice for a position which three players were battling to occupy - Asensio, James and Isco, the latter was also put on the market this summer.
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