Friday 15 December 2017

How United and Spurs both missed out on signing World Cup star James Rodriguez

James Rodriguez celebrates after scoring a spectacular volley against Uruguay
James Rodriguez celebrates after scoring a spectacular volley against Uruguay

Jeremy Wilson

James Rodriguez has opened the door to joining Real Madrid in what would be the biggest transfer of the summer and a move that could also accelerate Luis Suarez’s now expected departure to Barcelona.

A series of starring performances for Colombia have made Rodriguez the most talked about player of the World Cup and, after scoring the potential goal of the tournament against Uruguay on Saturday, he was asked by Spanish radio about the prospect of playing in Spain.

“It would be a dream to play in Spain, one of the best leagues in the world,” he reportedly told Cadena Cope. When subsequently asked whether he would prefer Barcelona, Atletico Madrid or Real Madrid, Rodriguez said: “I prefer Real Madrid.”

Rodriguez only moved last summer from Porto to Monaco for just over £35m, with Monaco understood to be adamant that they would not consider anything less than a fee approaching the world record £85m deal for Gareth Bale.

The Telegraph has revealed how both Manchester United and Tottenham have missed out on buying Rodriguez over the past two years.

Sir Alex Ferguson had a long-standing interest in the Colombian but, when there was an opportunity in 2012, it was felt that Porto’s asking price was excessive. United are understood to have had a £25m offer turned down by Porto. A deal was subsequently lined up between Porto and Monaco during the 2012-13 season, with Manchester United not ultimately becoming involved in a bidding war.

Tottenham, though, did become interested and Rodriguez was among the requested targets of Andre Villas-Boas last summer as the club prepared for the departure of Bale.

Whether Madrid would be prepared to make another huge signing this summer remains questionable but there would be huge knock-on implications if they did sign Rodriguez. Arsenal would be especially anxious to know if Karim Benzema or Alvaro Morata might then become available. It would also add to the pressure on Barcelona to make a major signing of their own, with Suarez now firmly in their sights.

Liverpool would want Chile’s Alexis Sanchez included in any deal for Suarez and have a transfer budget this summer of over £60m that will be supplemented by whatever is brought in through sales. There now appears to be a growing acceptance at Anfield that Suarez will go despite signing a new long-term contract last year.

Liverpool, though, will face competition for Sanchez, with Arsene Wenger having already also made an enquiry for the Barcelona forward during this World Cup.

Liverpool are also close to finalising a £10m move for the 19-year-old Belgium striker Divock Origi and want Benfica’s Serbian winger Lazar Markovic

Subject to an appeal, Suarez will be unavailable for any club side until the end of October following his ban from all football-related activity for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.

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