Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is reportedly set to go head to head with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho for Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez.
The Colombia international has found playing time hard to come by at the Santiago Bernabeu, and according to the Daily Express, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte are both interested in offering the Real Madrid playmaker an escape route.
James, who is the sixth most expensive player of all time, is apparently ready to leave Real Madrid in search of playing time.
The Daily Express claim that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte tried to sign the midfielder in the summer and failed, but that he has now been alerted to the possibility that Real Madrid will be open to selling the 25-year-old.
James has apparently been a long-term target for Jose Mourinho, but Conte will reportedly launch a second bid in an attempt to trump Manchester United and land the Colombian.
The report also claims that the Colombian’s relationship with Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is at an all-time low this season, and that he has fallen out of favour with the Frenchman, with both Isco and Lucas Vazquez making more appearances across all competitions this season.
James, who has scored 26 goals in 90 appearances for Los Blancos, signed a 6-year contract when Real Madrid signed him from Monaco in 2014 for a fee which was reported to be approximately €80 million.
He has 3 years remaining on that contract, and there has been no word on whether or not he will be offered an extension.
The one obstacle that could prevent Conte from landing his man is the fact that Real Madrid are currently handcuffed by a FIFA transfer ban. They cannot sign players until the winter transfer window of 2018, with their ban preventing them from registering any new players in the 2017 winter and summer windows.
However, the report states that Conte will not be put off by that and will still attempt to land James Rodriguez, who is apparently one of his two major targets in January.