Arsenal are reportedly the front runners to land Real Madrid star James Rodriguez. The Colombian has fallen out of favour with the Spanish club and has been linked with a £52 million move to North London (via The Daily Star).
Arsenal are in desperate need of a central defender and a striker so it’s perhaps a little surprising that they are being linked with a move for James Rodriguez. The reports come from Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo which claims that Madrid are looking to cash in on the 25-year-old.
He only moved to the Santiago Bernabeu two seasons ago but the former Monaco man has since fallen out of favour at the club. James made just 17 starting appearances for Madrid in La Liga last season – despite being the third highest signing in the club’s history – and is now being linked with a move to England.
Mundo Deportivo claims that Arsenal and Chelsea are both interested in the player who is valued at £60 million by Madrid. The newspaper reports that The Gunners lead the chase for Rodriguez’s signature because The Stamford Bridge side fears that winger Eden Hazard would become involved in any negotiations.
Wenger is undoubtedly a fan of James Rodriguez. “I know Rodriguez well because he plays in the French Championship for Monaco,” Wenger said in an interview during the 2014 World Cup. “I was absolutely amazed by the quality of his games. For me it was the intelligence of his passing, the suppleness of him and the fluency of his game.
“It also was the speed of his decision making. The penetrative passes he made were just absolutely fantastic. You just wanted to see him have the ball and when you want somebody to have the ball it is always a sign of exceptional quality and he definitely has that.”
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While Wenger is clearly a fan of James as a player, it does seem unlikely that he will make a move for the Colombian. Arsenal have Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, and Santi Cazorla who can all play the attacking midfield position. Wenger does seem aware of the pressing need for cover at centre back and a new starting striker and a move for the James would completely go against that.