Six years ago, James Rodriguez started for Colombia in the World Cup and was known as a raw talent who had potential. He was playing for Monaco in the French top division at the time. Five games on the biggest stage later, he was regarded as the next best thing. With two assists and six goals, one of them regarded as one of the greatest in World cup history, he lit up the tournament hence why Real Madrid snatched him up for a huge fee of £63 million.
Six years on Everton have just announced him as their new signing for a fee reported to be around £22 million.
So, there is bound to be a huge excitement amongst Everton supporters but how come James has been allowed to leave?
The perspective that he his ‘finished’ and ‘past it’ will be thrown around but it is a ludicrous take for an undoubtedly talented footballer. He has been sold though due to his form in the past couple of years. It has not been the best from Rodriguez for example last season at Real Madrid he only played in 14 games in all competitions. A handful of those games were through injury however the majority of the time it was due to being out of favour with manager Zinedine Zidane.
Also, the season before that, which was his second season on loan at Bayern Munich, saw him play only 28 times in all competitions due to numerous different injuries such as ruptured knee ligaments, ankle problems and calf issues. So, it has been stop start for the Colombian over the past two years which may worry some Everton supporters but it shouldn’t stop fans from being elevated over the arrival.
One of the main reasons is because, just like the Allan deal, Ancelotti pushed for this transfer to happen. He wanted James Rodriguez which means he has faith that he can perform for Everton. He wanted him that much he reportedly called James to have personal conversations with him on multiple occasions. It’ll be the third time Ancleotti has signed the attacking midfielder after signing him for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. James made 46 appearances under Ancelotti whilst at Real Madrid and he managed 17 goals and 18 assists showing evidently that Ancelotti can get him to perform.
James has made it clear the fact that Ancleotti knows him so well is a reason why he ‘really, really happy to be at this great club, a club with so much history.’ He also stated that he is ‘convinced with Carlo and his technical staff, we can achieve big things and one of the big reasons was the prescence of Carlo Ancelotti.’ ‘That was a massive reason to come here.’ So, lets hope that James can reproduce that form he showed under Carlo at Real Madrid.
Due to the average past couple of years people overlook just how good James has been at club level after the famous World Cup campaign. After that successful first season under Ancelotti, mentioned above, Rodriguez still performed well for arguably the biggest club in the world. In the two seasons after his debut campaign James managed an impressive 41 goal contributions which may gone under the radar due to the level of players he was competing with in that Real Madrid side. Then his first season on loan at Bayern Munich James again proved his quality scoring eight times and assisting 14 as he became a vital cog in the side that went onto win the Bundesliga title. So, it is not as if the World cup was a one off, he is a proven top-class talent.
Also, he is undoubtedly a upgrade on what Everton have got. Sigurdsson has proved to be ineffective in attacking areas throughout the whole of last season and has been linked with a move away. Other than him Everton have not got a serious amount of strength in depth for an attacking midfield role hence why the Colombian will more thank likely be one of the first names on the team sheet if he adapts well.
An underrated aspect of James’ game is his versatility which may be vital due the system that has been used by Ancelotti. He has played on either wing multiple times in his career so if Ancelotti persists with the 4-4-2 he can play on either side with a tendency to come inside rather than stay wide. This will help James have a huge attacking influence in games.
There is an element of risk to the signing of course but that is the case with near enough every signing in football. However, it is more of a smart signing than risky signing on and off the pitch. James Rodriguez is a celebrity of the highest order in Colombia so has a huge 46 million Instagram followers. So undoubtedly this will help Everton’s off field commitments but obviously that won’t work too well if he does not perform on the pitch.
He will be itching to prove himself and show why he himself claims to be Colombia’s greatest ever player in the most watched league in the world. Under a manager who trusts him to re-establish himself and has previously gotten the best form out of him, it is an excellent platform for James to thrive. There will be no reason for him to not relish the challenge and that is a serious reason to be enthusiastic about the new man especially when he has stated that he is ‘going to give everything in every game situation, every play, every build-up. I will try my absolute best.’ James wants this which should thrill Evertonians around the world =.
This time last year no Evertonian would have dreamt that Ancleotti would be manager and signing James Rodriguez, so now it’s time to see whether it will all pay off with James saying that ‘the project here is very serious. Everyone means business.’
Now it is time for James to show that he himself means business.
Written by Elliot Thompson