PREMIER LEAGUE

Ancelotti eyes James Rodriguez reunion at Everton

The Everton manager is reportedly keen on linking up with the Columbian playmaker for a third time as he looks to overhaul the Merseysiders’ midfield.

Ancelotti eyes James Rodriguez reunion at Everton

Everton are closing in on a deal to bring Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez to Goodison Park in what could be the first major transfer of Carlo Ancelotti’s spell in charge. A report in the Daily Telegraph claims that the Merseyside club are currently “in talks to sign James Rodriguez on a permanent transfer” although no fee has yet been agreed.

The Columbian joined Real Madrid in 2014 off the back of an impressive World Cup showing but has failed to justify his fee, believed to be worth close to €80million, during his time with the club. He has won two La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues in the Spanish capital but featured just eight times in their 2019/20 title-winning campaign having returned from a two-year loan spell with Bayern Munich.

As was reported in AS recently Rodriguez has made no secret of his desire for a fresh start having fallen out of favour with Real boss Zinedine Zidane, saying: “People have tastes. He has his own tastes for some players and he is respectful. I won't get involved there. When you see that you don't get the same opportunities as your teammates, it's difficult. I wanted to leave and the club wouldn't let me go... I wanted to go where I could have played; I knew that I would not have opportunities, because Zidane already had his base in place.”

When asked about his likely next destination the 29-year-old mentioned Serie A and the Premier League as “the only ones missing”, having already played in Spain, Germany, France and Portugal. He added: “Going to England would be a good thing, it’s a top league”.

Player and manager reunite

It is thought that Rodriguez could be available in a cut-price deal of around €30million as Real look to shift some of their older squad players. Everton are believed to be in the market for a midfielder having already been linked with Napoli’s Allan and recently-relegated Abdoulaye Doucoure of Watford.

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has a long history with Rodriguez having signed him twice already at previous clubs. The Italian was in charge when the midfielder made his switch to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2014 and later brought him to Bayern Munich on a loan deal.

Ancelotti also spoke of Rodriguez in glowing terms while Napoli manager last season, describing him as “a player that I really like.”

He added: "I’m very attached to James, I rate him very highly and he can certainly improve our team.”

Rodriguez’ previous transfers to an Ancelotti side have not worked out particularly well for either party. The player never really established himself as a regular starter in either Madrid or Munich and on both occasions the manager left the club within a year of the Columbian’s arrival. Everton fans will hope that it’s third time lucky for Rodriguez and Ancelotti on Merseyside.