James Rodríguez depending on Isco for Real Madrid future
The two midfielders starred alongside each other as part of Zidane's successful Plan B, but now there futures at the Bernabéu are entwined differently.
Real Madrid's continued focus is on Operation Exit, and the moves out of the door are expected to have a domino effect across the summer transfer window. Two of Los Blancos stars during Zinedine Zidane's first spell in charge, James Rodríguez and Isco, were closely linked in that winning midfield, and now their futures may also be tightly connected.
Zidane's choice: Isco or James
With close to 300 million euros already laid out for new faces at the Santiago Bernabéu, Florentino Pérez is working hard with his French coach and others to remove some of the burden on the wage bill, and bring in further funds.
Paul Pogba remains on the wish list of Los Blancos, however, the likes of Ceballos (set for the Premier League), James and Isco, need to depart if that is to have any chance of coming to fruition. The club's decision, though, is how to manage potential interest in these players as they will not want to release them all. If James is to go, then Isco would almost certainly stay. But if an offer around the club's valuation of €80 million comes in for the Málaga boy, then the Colombian may be kept on, ensuring options in the middle of the park are not too limited.
Zidane was very upset with the attitude of James in his final season before heading to Bavaria on loan. He does, though, recognise his virtues and knows that Madrid is still a team that has a special place in the player's heart.
Neighbours and LaLiga rivals, Atlético, are said to be keen on taking the Colombian to a much-changed side under Diego Simeone this season. This move would not be unpalatable in the offices around Chamartin but the right deal would need to be struck. Napoli too have shown their interest but their only offer to date is for a loan move, something that does not work for Pérez. What works in their favour is that they have until the end of the month (29th July) before James returns from holiday after his impressive performances in the Copa América. This gives them time to see what funds can be raised from other players, while the aforementioned clubs - and possibly more - attempt to find the €50 million desired.
Madrid will accept saying a final goodbye to the man who recently turned 28, but they certainly don't want to 'gift' him away. And his future is intrinsically linked to that of his teammates, especially Isco.
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