Manchester United have reportedly ceded their interest in Real Madrid outcast James Rodriguez, who is now being tailed by Arsenal.
As reported by The Sun, Manchester United are no longer in pursuit of James Rodriguez. The Colombian international, who is likely to be sold by Real Madrid in the summer transfer window, still has suitors from the Premier League in the form of Arsenal and Everton.
James Rodriguez arrived at Real Madrid labelled as one of the most promising young midfielders in the world, especially on the back of a stunning 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. However, over the last six years, the player has struggled to stamp his authority at the Bernabeu, never quite becoming a regular for Los Blancos.
It has been more of the same this season for the 28-year-old after returning from a two-year loan spell with Bayern Munich. Rodriguez has managed to turn out just 13 times in all competitions this term, with injuries taking their toll in addition to Zinedine Zidane’s preference for other players. The likes of Manchester United and Arsenal have been linked with him lately.
Manchester United’s interest in James Rodriguez came off as a bit surprising, considering they did sign an attacking midfielder in Bruno Fernandes just a couple of months ago. Perhaps, they could use him in a deeper role, which the player featured in while at Bayern Munich, but even then he will hardly be a natural fit in a midfield double pivot.
However, it did not seem to matter much, with reports even suggesting that Manchester United had held talks with the Colombian’s agent Jorge Mendes over a possible summer move. Now, though, it looks like Manchester United are no longer interested in Rodriguez, giving Arsenal a clearer run at him.
The interest from Arsenal does make sense, especially with Dani Ceballos expected to return to Real Madrid for good upon the expiration of his loan deal with the Gunners. Furthermore, the future of Mesut Ozil is reportedly uncertain, which is why Arsenal have been rumoured to be scouring for a midfield addition.
If Ozil does leave, Rodriguez would be as near to a top class like-for-like replacement that Arsenal can get, that too at an economical price. The 28-year-old will have just one year left in his deal with Real Madrid in the summer. And, the fact that Manchester United have pulled out of the race to sign him, coupled with Los Blancos‘ insistence to sell him means he is unlikely to cost a premium.
Arsenal, though, will also have to contend with Everton to secure the services of the player. In such a scenario, European football will be key. Neither club can offer it as of yet, although Arsenal are better placed than the Toffees to achieve European qualification, if the season does resume once it is deemed safe enough to do so.
For now, what appears to be certain is that Manchester United are no longer pursuing a move for James Rodriguez, with other players taking priority for them. What remains to be seen is who out of Arsenal or Everton can manage to land him, with his Real Madrid stint coming to an end.