English Premier League side West Ham United FC is rumored to be targeting €80 million-rated Real Madrid winger James Rodriguez this summer.
The 25-year-old Colombia international has been going through a mercurial stint with Los Blancos these past two seasons since he was acquired from Ligue 1 club AS Monaco in the summer of 2014 for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of €80 million.
Rumors have emerged that the Bernabéu giants have made Rodriguez available for the same amount this offseason, but there had been no takers for the Cúcuta, Colombia native as of the moment.
Cash-rich squads Manchester United, Chelsea, and Paris Saint-Germain were all linked with the 5-foot-11 attacking midfielder as soon as this year’s summer transfer window opened, but so far the highest bid by any of the clubs was only €60 million.
The Independent reported that the Hammers are joining these top-notch teams in the race for Rodriguez’s signature, although it is currently unclear whether the east London outfit is willing to expend such amount even though they have the funds to do so.
Rodriguez had played a total of 78 games in all competitions for Real in the last two terms, scoring 25 goals in the process, but he had never found enough first-team time under the squads of former manager Rafa Benitez and current head coach Zinedine Zidane.
The report noted that he was notoriously “left on the bench during Madrid’s Champions League final against local rivals Atletico Madrid as his side clinched their eleventh title” as Zidane preferred Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, and Casemiro to control the midfield with Isco subbing for Kroos at the 72nd minute.
Despite showing that he is fine being at the bottom of Zidane’s pecking order, speculations abound that Rodriguez is “now contemplating life beyond the Bernabéu” and is being tempted to move to England this summer and play in the Premier League.
Marca indicated that “Premier League offers and a subdued role in the (Spanish) capital are pushing James Rodriguez closer to the Real Madrid exit door”.
“A large squad gives you a few more problems but that comes with the territory as Real Madrid coach,” said Rodriguez, seemingly defending Zidane’s decisions to bench him. “I have to play the most competitive side I can and I’ll do the same thing this season, that’s my responsibility.”