We are almost in the middle of July and already landed on us the transfer of the Summer so far – James Rodriguez, Real Madrid and Colombia’s national team star, will join German giant, Bayern Munich, in a two-year loan deal worth €10M and with an option to buy him for €35M when the contract will expire on June 30th 2019. It looks like the Germans made one of their best deals. After several months where his name was linked to so many clubs, including Manchester United and PSG, James landed in Munich. At first Florentino Perez said that James will be for sale only for no less then €70M, but I guess that he also understood that he is not going to see this amount and agreed terms with Bayern at the end.
It’s no secret that Zidane didn’t count on James. Maybe he preferred other players, maybe James didn’t fit to his formation. Bottom line was that Real’s expensive purchase barely received fair chances under the French coach, even though he was the leader among Real’s midfielder with the numbers of goals he was involved (goals + assists), surely comparing his number of minutes (The fewest among Real’s major players). The Colombian arrive to Munich very hungry to a new club after barely play in the last year and a half and wants to prove that he is still should be considered as one of the best players in the world.
James in Real Madrid’s uniform. Deserved to play much more, but didn’t have the support
So why Bayern and is this his best destination? I have no doubt that it is. First of all, his arrival was a specific request from head coach Carlo Ancelotti. Bayern chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, admit that Ancelotti was the reason that James will wear red for the next two years and the reason is clear: The Italian coach was Real’s coach when they signed James Rodriguez in August 2014, right after he was crowned as the 2014 World Cup top scorer. Under Ancelotti he played his best season in his career: 46 matches, 17 goals and 18 assists in a tough club like real Madrid in his first year.
Considering his history with Zidane, no doubt that when a certain coach wants a certain player, he will support him, bring him the confidence he needs and count on him almost in every situation, things that James never received from Zidane and needs them right now. even though his forum in real decreased, James know exactly to separate his ability with the national team: In Colombia he had the support of the fans and more important, the support of head coach Pekerman and James didn’t let him down. even when he wasn’t at his best, the support was always there to prove that he can still play and it’s not a secret that James is very talented footballer.
The irreplaceable boss of Colombia
We also need to remember that Bayern will receive a player in his prime when it comes to his age. James is celebrating today (July 12th) his 26th birthday. He will arrive very hungry to succeed in his new team, new league and most of all, with the willing to prove his friends in Real and especially to Zidane that he made a mistake by letting him go. Of course that it can also do the opposite: Now James needs to prove himself after two bad seasons and also needs to adapt in a new country, new culture, something that it’s never easy.
So where James is going to play? Ancelotti likes to play with a playmaker, a ’10’. Same thing happened in Real and he surely may do it in Bayern. But the problem is Thomas Muller. Will he be effected by James’s arrival? If Ancelotti will play 4-2-3-1, Muller may be hurt. With James in the middle, Robben & Ribery in the flanks while Lewandowsky as a lone striker. Another option is to put James as a left attacking midfielder, a role that he already did in the past and with success, but his lack of speed may be a problem for him in this position. Also, it’s very difficult to see him start on Robben (when he’s not injury) or Ribery’s expense.
In which position Ancelotti will use him? The big question
we also shouldn’t forget that James is not a starting lineup bunker. He will have to work very hard in order to prove that he deserve to start. There’s a huge difference between fighting on your place under a coach who believes in you to try and prove yourself to a coach who didn’t really like you and looking to bench you regarding your current form. I believe that due to his history with James, Ancelotti intend to make Bayern even better and with James they surley can go all the way in the Champions League.
One interesting point it’s the number he will use in Bayern. Not everyone knows, but James has a secret detail in his contract where he must use the number ’10’. Since the number is already taken by Dutch superstar, Arjen Robben, most probably that James will have to find a new number, maybe number 11 which is available after Juve loaned Douglas Costa. But I guess we’l have to wait to his official presentation and see for ourselves.
The Colombian civilians want to see him win this cup on Zidane’s expense
Another interesting point is that UEFA doesn’t allow to put a special clause where a player who is loaned to another team, cannot play against his original team in case they will meet between them. This kind of situation can bring to a special match between Real and Bayern. After Zidane made that every Colombian civilian hates him now, they will be very glad if both teams will meet and the final and the Colombian diamond will bring the cup with the big ears for the coach who wanted him so much.