Image: Wikimedia Commons / Chensiyuan
Image: Wikimedia Commons / Chensiyuan

James Rodriguez will bring superstar creativity to Everton

It was confirmed last month that James Rodriguez would be joining Merseyside team Everton from Real Madrid on a two-year deal. This move will make it the third time that James has played under manager Carlo Ancelotti, so we’ll see whether he’s able to get the best out of the Colombian for the Blues this time around.

Having joined Real Madrid from Monaco in 2014 for a figure of €80 million, James faced plenty of ups and downs during his time at the Spanish club, especially after the variety of different injuries which have plagued him over the past few years. He’s played regularly for the Colombian national team, winning FIFA’s Golden Ball in 2014 for being the top goalscorer at the World Cup – this is one of the reasons that Real Madrid was attracted to him in the first place.

Now approaching thirty, is it possible that James has passed his peak? That much remains to be seen, and his performance this season at Everton will hopefully provide us with some answers. His best period arguably came with Ancelotti at Real Madrid (under whom he scored 17 goals and had 15 assists). After this, he left on loan to Bayern Munich for the 2018/19 season, where his luck continued to be much of the same after multiple knee and leg injuries.

James Rodriguez is a player well-liked by Real Madrid’s owner Florentino Pérez

Regarding his move to Everton in this transfer market, controversy has surrounded his signing, particularly regarding how much the team bought James for. Initially, Spanish sources reported that the move had been completed for €25 million, but it was later revealed to have been a free transfer – interesting for a player of his calibre.

James Rodriguez is a player well-liked by Real Madrid’s owner, Florentino Pérez, and this might have played a part in the misleading sources regarding his transfer fee, as obviously it isn’t ideal for a great player to be basically given away for free.

When it comes to ensuring James’ success at Everton, Ancelotti’s man management will most certainly come into play. In his first years at Real Madrid, he had some issues with managers after partying against club doctors’ orders, and Everton will without a doubt hope to avoid similar situations. One well-known event – and slightly more serious than a bit of partying – was when James was caught speeding at 124mph (double the speed limit) on his way to training in Madrid.

After failing to stop for an unmarked police car, which chased him through the Spanish streets with its siren on, he ended up driving into the team’s training ground to escape the car. Later on, he was heavily fined, avoiding any greater charges after claiming that as the police car was unmarked, he’d been afraid it was some sort of carjacking and panicked. All this being said, it seems man management will be key for Everton to get the best out of him.

He’s excellent with his left foot and very good technically

Off the pitch situations aside, James will definitely bring quality to the Premier League side. He’s excellent with his left foot and very good technically, so will definitely bring skill: his high-level creativity will add to the squad. As an attacking midfielder, he works best behind a solid striker, particularly on the right-hand side of the pitch, where he can receive the ball before moving inside to find a better angle to shoot with his preferred left foot. He’s good at finding spaces and moving inside and into them, which should benefit Everton if they do choose to allow him this sort of freedom.

As well as this, James can hit precise free kicks and is very dangerous, even from outside of the box, so is bound to create plenty of chances for the Merseyside outfit. Last season at Real Madrid, he only played a total of 419 minutes and scored one goal, meaning that in that regard, he’s already been more successful in his short spell in England this season (3 goals) which bodes well.

It’ll be interesting to see who he’s teamed up with at Everton: if it’s with another midfielder who can take care of the more defensive work, James can definitely be a huge attacking threat.

Everton now have both Doucouré and Allan who can work well in the middle, meaning James can play on the right side, which is where he excels, rather than having to focus too much on defending. However, he’s not the fastest player in the world which could be a hindrance, especially if he gets lazy and doesn’t work hard to make up for it elsewhere.

Overall, it’ll be interesting to see how he contributes to Everton’s season, and there’ll undoubtedly be plenty of people looking on with excitement to see whether he truly can deliver.

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