James Rodriguez: The Contenders to Sign Him & Where He Might End Up

?It’s set to be a chaotic summer transfer window for Bayern Munich loanee James Rodriguez.

The Colombia international’s immediate future in Bavaria still hasn’t been decided and the clock is ticking for Bayern Munich to make Rodriguez’s deal permanent, with the Bundesliga champions needing to pay €42m by 15th June.

With it clear that the 27-year-old is surplus to requirements back at his parent club Real Madrid, teams across Europe are now lining up to land the 2014 World Cup’s poster boy before the start of next season.

Here’s a rundown of the clubs who’ve been linked with a move for Rodriguez this summer and just how likely it is that he’ll be playing there next season.


Chelsea

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With Eden Hazard on his way out of the club this summer, it’s only natural that Chelsea will be looking for a marquee name to fill the Belgium international’s boots.

But the club still hasn’t launched an appeal against their transfer ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which has to be submitted by 29th May – the date of the Europa League final – to stand any chance of being upheld.

Likelihood Rating: 1/10


Arsenal

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This isn’t the first time that Arsenal have been linked with a move to sign James Rodriguez, having been tipped to sign any semi-creative player under Arsène Wenger’s old regime.

But with a budget of roughly £40m, their transfer priorities are sitting anywhere but in Rodriguez’s position and with current playmaker Mesut Özil eating up the majority of their wage bill, it’s highly unlikely the club will even entertain a deal.

All that being said…it would be a very, very Arsenal thing to do.

Likelihood Rating: 2/10


Paris Saint-Germain

James Rodriguez,Dani Alves

Paris Saint-Germain might have an unlimited transfer budget in every transfer window, but the scrutiny of their ability to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations is growing every season.

Les Parisiens are under pressure to sell one of either Neymar or Kylian Mbappé this summer, but understandably they’re reluctant to let go of half of their iconic pairing.

Having a net spend of €292.5m since 2017 alone, Paris Saint-Germain won’t be looking to make too many major moves in the upcoming transfer window.

Likelihood Rating: 3/10


Liverpool

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New multi-million pound attackers won’t be at the top of Jürgen Klopp’s wishlist this summer, with Liverpool instead expected to focus bringing is some backup players for more defensive positions.

But Rodriguez has admitted that he is warming to the idea of a move to England, and the project underway at Anfield will make them the most attractive option for any attacking player looking to find a new club this summer.

Likelihood Rating: 4/10


Bayern Munich

James Rodriquez

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have just a few weeks left before the chance to sign Rodriguez for €42m is taken away from them, with the Colombian now at the end of his two-year loan deal at the Allianz Arena.

Even though all the signs are now pointing to Bayern Munich not activating Rodriguez’s clause, the club’s top brass have previously hinted that the loan would be made permanent, and at the very least it would allow the Bavarians to re-sell the midfielder later this summer.

Likelihood Rating: 5/10


Atlético Madrid

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The shakeup that is set to happen at Atlético Madrid this summer has been one of the most downplayed stories of the early stages of the summer transfer window.

Antoine Griezmann, Lucas Hernandez, Juanfran and Diego Godin will leave, while midfielder Rodri has also emerged as one of the most sought after players on the continent.

Although negotiating with Real Madrid could prove to be tough when Rodriguez returns to the club, Diego Simeone’s side are in the market for a goalscoring forward in a similar mould to their departing World Cup winner.

Likelihood Rating: 6/10


Manchester United

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Out of all of the Premier League clubs who are believed to be interested in signing Rodriguez this summer, a switch to Manchester United would make the most sense for everyone.

The only thing holding a move to Old Trafford back is that United appear to be focusing their attention in signing young, British players ahead of the new season.

And with so much work still to do behind the scenes in the north-west, fans might be forced to wait until next summer before any high-profile arrivals of Rodriguez’s ilk make their way into Manchester United’s dressing room.

Likelihood Rating: 6/10


Juvenuts

James Rodriguez,Giorgio Chiellini

It’s common knowledge that Juventus could be looking offload Paulo Dybala this summer as the Argentine continues to grow frustrated in Turin, and the club’s top brass will be looking to offer their new manager a new marquee player upon their arrival.

Rodriguez’s arrival at Juventus would boost their short-term ambitions of winning the Champions League too, offering the Colombian another shot at working alongside his former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.

Although the Bianconeri’s interest in Rodriguez is still something which is largely up for debate, recent reports are suggesting that the Italian champions are at the front of the queue for his signature.

Likelihood Rating: 7/10

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8 Figures From the Football World Who Could Become the Next Prime Minister

?Theresa May has just announced her impending resignation as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Yeh, BREAKING, and all that. 

So, with a list of possible candidates that leaves, well, a lot to be desired, we thought we’d turn to the footballing world, as we have at so many other points in our lives, for salvation. 

Only this time, these figures won’t be aiding us in our sporting escapism, but actively helping us escape this dire sh*tshow of a situation we find ourselves in, politically speaking. 

The nominees are…


Joey Barton

Joey Barton

Party: UKICK (United Kingdom Independence Collective Kickers – you know, like UKIP, but they kick stuff)

Campaign Slogan: ?’Milkshakes today. Bricks tomorrow. Petrol bombs next week.’ 

Key Issues: Them Jonny Forriners coming in and stealing our hard-earned playoff spots. 

Positives: Errr, he has experience on ‘Question Time’?

Negatives: Faux-philisophical git.

Skeletons: Where to start? The man has a rap sheet longer than the ballot for Thursday’s European Parliament election. Highlights include stubbing a cigar out in a youth player’s eye, like a true man of the people.

[Yeah, well, not all of them are gonna be good, are they? When we say Joey Barton ‘could’ be Prime Minister, we mean it more in the sense that he thinks he could, just like he thought he was the best English midfielder in the ?Premier League back in 2011.]


Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard,Izzy Brown

Speaking of players Joey Barton thought he was better than: Frank Lampard. 

Party: Frank Lampard’s Political Party

Campaign Slogan: ‘Stop crying Theresaaaa.’

Positives: Media trained, good analyst and unlikely to be caught up in an expenses scandal because, didn’t you know, he picked up the whole [Frank Lampard’s] ?Derby County bar bill after the Leeds playoff win! He was also once rumoured to have been asked to stand as MP for Kensington.

Skeletons: Tory.


Gary Lineker

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Party: Walkers’ Rights Party

Campaign Slogan: ‘Footballers can politics too!!!’

Positives: Very popular. Takes media trained to a whole new level; as the host of a popular tv show, the guy has clear political chops in 2019. Honest (basically admitted he did a poo on the pitch which, as Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison ?has shown, does not preclude yourself from governance) and has kept promises in the past (that bet about Leicester and pants).

Negatives: Do we really want to follow a precedent set by the Aussies?

Skeletons: Did those oversized shorts really count as pants? 


Neil Warnock & Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce,Neil Warnock

Party: The British Alliance

Campaign Slogan: [Apparently aimed at the EU] ‘Your sh*t, but your birds are fit’

Positives: A joint ballot provides a nice USP. Hard-nosed motivators. Everyone’s seen the way Warnock can command a room with his swashbuckling oratory style, while Allardyce is bringing both the brains and the brawn. Between them, they’ve worked in almost every county in Britian, so ‘know the country’.

Negatives: Hate referees – so wouldn’t take too kindly to being policed – and have been known to descend into profanity to convey their points. Have publicly supported Brexit and Donald Trump in recent times, with the latter taking place inside a radio booth alongside a bottle of HP sauce. Seriously.

Skeletons: One was once found *allegedly* (as in, falsely) watching inappropriate videos on transfer deadline day and the other famously lost power after an undercover sting operation.


Pep Guardiola

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Party: Catalan Independence Group

Campaign Slogan: ‘A Better Spain for Catalunya!’

Positives: Judging by that look, Pep is clearly a man of the people. There’s also been ample proof that guy has serious dance moves, so no chance of a return of the Maybot anytime soon.

Negatives: Central issue to campaign is making Catalan a separate entity from Spain, which is not in the United Kingdom. Unrelatedly, he’s also Spanish *I mean Catalan*, so ineligible.

Skeletons: Questionable human rights record of recent employers, and could feasibly remain in the pocket of Abu Dhabi during tenure…so a bit too ‘same old, same old’ for our liking, perhaps?


Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard

Party: Istan-D4STEVIE-bul

Campaign Slogan: ‘This time, we REALLY don’t let it slip.’

Positives: Natural born leader and used to carrying a team on his back. Bound to get the Scottish vote.

Negatives: Creepy smile, ‘me-first’ mentality, terrible party name and prone to costly slip-ups.

Skeletons: Known associate of Brendan Rodgers. 


Arsene Wenger

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Party: Patience Union

Campaign Slogan: ‘Liberte, Egalite, Eternite.’

Positives: Have you ever seen a football man looks so bloody presidential? Forget British politics, Arsene, you’re heading to the US of A. The thing is, I’ve seen Wenger’s passion for Britain first hand – at the 2016 Euros I watched him passionately sing along to God Save the Queen at the stalemate with Slovakia (genuinely true).

Also, with his philosophical and economical leanings, Arsene Wenger is the closest on this list to possessing a PPE degree from Oxbridge, aka the key to 10 Downing Street. He doesn’t, obviously, but he’s close. 

Negatives: A key part of his manifesto is that Prime Ministers cannot serve for any less than 22 years, so some slight dictatorial concerns. 

Skeletons: He’s French. 


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Transfers: Each of the Premier League Top 6’s Dream Summer Signings

The Premier League’s top six sides all have wildly different priorities this summer. For Manchester City and Liverpool, it will be about tweaking where necessary to ensure that the incredible consistency that saw them engage in one of the most impressive title battles in English football history can be maintained. 

Tottenham will be looking to play catch-up after 18 months without a new signing, while Chelsea and Arsenal will be giving their managers license to further shape their respective squads in their image.

And for Manchester United, well 90min’s ?Scott Saunders put their situation into context when he named an ?entire squad of 18 players they have been linked with in the infancy of the transfer window. 

With their respective summer intentions in mind, then, here are the dream (if mostly unrealistic) options for each of the Premier League’s heavyweights.


Manchester United

Kalidou Koulibaly,Alexandre Lacazette

Kalidou Koulibaly

Estimated Cost: £110m

As already touched on, ?United need a fair bit of investment this summer, and crystallising the solution to their troubles down to a single signing is a pointless endeavour, since there are so many areas in which they are not very good.

The position in which they are most in need, however, is their defence. The 54 goals they shipped over the course of the season put them in 11th in terms of their defensive record, so more than anything, that is what needs addressed. Just look at the difference Virgil van Dijk has made at ?Liverpool since arriving 18 months ago.

If we’re talking dream central defensive signings, and taking realism even somewhat into account (by which I mean not suggesting Matthijs de Ligt, because behave yourselves) then Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli is the standout contender. The 27-year-old has been a rock at the heart of the Serie A side’s defence for years, and you could make a case for him as the best central defender in the world who doesn’t represent the Netherlands. 


Arsenal

Hakim Ziyech

Hakim Ziyech

Estimated Cost – £26m

With Aaron Ramsey gone and Mesut Ozil potentially going, ?Arsenal are perilously close to a situation in which Granit Xhaka is given creative responsibility from midfield. There is a strong chance they will desperately need someone in there who can contribute to goals. 

After the season he has had for Ajax – with 21 goals and 24 assists in all competitions – there are few better options available than Hakim Ziyech at present. And with a reported release clause of around £26m in his contract, he’s an option that may actually fit within Arsenal’s limited budget before a player needs to be sold. 

He has title winning experience, has featured heavily in Europe, and at 26, he has enough time left in his career for Arsenal to get five or six good seasons out of him. He ticks every single box. 


Tottenham

Marco Asensio

Marco Asensio

Estimated Cost: £620m?

It’s been a long time since ?Spurs last signed a player, but despite that, they actually look in decent shape. A pretty sharp dip in form saw them fall comfortably out of the title race in March, but regardless, they finished in a Champions League place and have the final of that competition to look forward to next week. 

Could they go another window without signing a player? Probably. Will they? Not a chance, surely. Of all the players linked, Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio – who Mauricio Pochettino is a huge fan of – looks the most exciting. Possessing pace, creativity, versatility, and with youth on his side, he has the look of a signing that could really help take Spurs to the next level. 

They were, however, ?told to stump up a rather silly €700m to sign him this week, so this one seems a few hundred million outside the realms of possibility unless Real have a change of heart. 


Chelsea

Arkadiusz Milik

Arkadiusz Milik

Estimated Cost: £40m?

?Chelsea, obviously, are staring down the barrel of a two-window transfer ban, but that doesn’t really keep in line with what we’re doing here, so we’re going to plow ahead and imagine they’ll scam their way out of it somehow, and make a signing or two.

What they will need is an out and out goalscorer who fits within Maurizio Sarri’s system. And while it may seem like there are more exciting options there, there is a strong case for Milik.

 He has netted 20 goals in 46 matches this season after spending much of Sarri’s time in Naples out with injury, establishing himself as one of Serie A’s most prolific strikers. And he is just 25. While everyone else is falling over themselves for Nicolas Pepe, Timo Werner, Luka Jovic and the likes, Chelsea would be wise to move decisively for the Napoli target-man before his stock rises further. 


Liverpool

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Joao Felix

Estimated Cost: £70m

Liverpool will likely not be spending much money this summer, or so the word goes from the club, but what if it’s all a ruse and they are actually planning on another £150m spending spree? (It’s hard to spin a backup goalkeeper or a backup left-back as a ‘dream signing’ so work with us here.)

In the unlikely event that the Reds do decide to splash the cash, then another forward to rotate with Roberto Firmino is what is needed, and the most exciting option out there at present is Benfica’s Joao Felix. 

The 19-year-old has netted 20 goals in his debut season in Portugal, and would serve as the long-term replacement to one of the front three, with the ability to eventually surpass the levels that the red-hot trio are performing at. Which is crazy, really. This is proper dreamland stuff, considering the price on his head, but let me dream. 


Manchester City

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Rodri

Estimated Cost: £60m

?City don’t need much this summer. They are well stocked in almost – almost – every position. Whatever morsels of weakness they have shown this season, however, came when Fernandinho was sidelined, because try as they might, none of their multitude of midfielders have the skillset to step into his shoes. 

Given that the Brazilian is 34 and probably only has one season remaining at the height of his powers, that will be a concern of Pep Guardiola, and he will want a long-term solution tied down. He made no secret of his efforts to land Jorginho last summer, only to be rejected for Chelsea, but this time around, Atletico’s Rodri could be the subject of Guardiola’s advances.

Atletico have suffered from a ‘difficult’ season – second place in La Liga and going out of the Champions League to Juventus – and look set to lose every first team player on their books. Rodri, who has been a star performer at the base of midfield, and is only 22, looks as if he will be one of them. His possession-based yet physical skillset would fit City like a glove, so the signing would make sense for a multitude of reasons. 


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Gonzalo Higuain Eager to Reunite With Cristiano Ronaldo Alongside Maurizio Sarri at Juventus

?Gonzalo Higuain has endured a rather turbulent loan spell at Chelsea since joining them in the January transfer window, failing to reach the levels expected of him on his arrival.

The Blues appear unlikely to trigger the option to either extend his loan stay or sign him on a permanent basis, meaning a return to parent club Juventus is looks likely. 

Should he return, he will be reunited with Cristiano Ronaldo, with whom he shared a successful at Real Madrid; winning the La Liga title and Copa del Rey before moving to Napoli, where he met Maurizio Sarri.

Cristiano Ronaldo,Gonzalo Higuain

Now, a report by ?Tuttosport claims the 32-year-old striker is eager for Sarri to follow him to Juventus and take on the vacant managerial position at the Old Lady following the departure of Massimiliano Allegri.

?Ronaldo and Sarri have been instrumental in two of Higuain’s most successful spells of his career. His current boss was in charge in Naples during the striker’s most prolific spell in front of goal, scoring 36 times in 35 Serie A matches during his final season with the club.

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Ronaldo, meanwhile, was a teammate of Higuain’s for four years at Real, where the Argentine was just as prolific; scoring 107 goals in La Liga 190 games for Los Blancos.

Sarri is thought to be one of three names linked with the ?Juventus job which also includes Mauricio Pochettino and Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi. However, ?recent reports suggest that ?Chelsea have no intention of sacking him and other clubs would have to pay a significant compensation package if they were to poach the Italian.

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Premier League Prize Money: How Much Every Club Earned During the 2018/19 Season

?As all football fans know, it pays to be in the Premier League and it has now been revealed just how much the clubs in English football’s top division have earned in prize money this season.

At the end of what was another dramatic season in the most exciting league in the world, clubs received a payment made up of the following categories: TV & Commercial Revenue, Facility Fees and Merit Payment (league position).

While this season all sides received equal share of the league’s international TV revenue, that is set to change from the 2019/20 campaign onwards after the top six teams won their battle to earn a greater share of the income generated from foreign territories.

AFC Bournemouth v Everton FC - Premier League

As those sides have more fans worldwide, the clubs have persistently claimed they should receive more than the other teams from the overseas broadcasting deal – and the Premier League have now granted their wish, meaning the financial gulf between them and the other 14 teams will expand in the coming years.

For now, though, as you would expect, in general terms the higher up the league table each team finished the more money each club made, however that is not the case across the board.

As shown in the full breakdown released by the Premier League, clubs with a rich heritage and bigger fanbases do still receive more cash than their modern foes even before this change has been implemented.

With that in mind, it is no surprise to see Liverpool as the highest earners this season despite finishing second behind nouveau-riche Manchester City, with the weight of the Reds history and their global reach a key reason behind their position as the biggest earners.

In a case of the rich getting richer, the top two were the only sides to break the £150m mark, while the rest of the top six all banked between £142m and £147m with no other team receiving above £130m.

Everton were the next highest earners but got £14m less than sixth-placed Manchester United, with Marco Silva’s side collecting £128m during the campaign.

In a welcome boost to a club with one of the most stringent budgets in the league, Newcastle United received the most out of all teams in the bottom half of the table, taking £120m of the Premier League windfall.

The Magpies and Everton were two of five teams to earn over £120m, alongside WolvesLeicester and West Ham who were the other teams to fill the league’s top ten.

Wilfried Zaha,Andros Townsend,Michy Batshuayi,James McArthur

Just £10m separated the other six sides to avoid relegation with Crystal Palace (£114m) leading Watford (£113m), Bournemouth (£108m), Burnley (£107m), Brighton (£105m) and Southampton (£104m).

As expected the bottom three also came last in the money table with Cardiff and Fulham earning £102m and £101m respectively.

A torrid season for Huddersfield Town was made even worse by the fact they were the only side in the division not to earn at least £100m, with the club taking just over £96m back with them to the Championship.


Full rundown of money earned this season, totalling £2.45bn.

?Club Name Total Amount Earned?
?Manchester City ?£150,986,355
?Liverpool ?£152,425,146
?Chelsea ?£146,030,216
?Tottenham ?£145,230,801
?Arsenal ?£142,193,180
?Manchester United ?£142,512,868
?Wolverhampton Wanderers ?£127,165,114
?Everton ?£128,603,905
?Leicester City ?£123,328,078
?West Ham ?£122,528,663
?Watford ?£113,895,527
?Crystal Palace ?£114,215,215
?Newcastle United ?£120,130,418
?Bournemouth ?£108,139,973
?Burnley ?£107,340,558
?Southampton ?£104,302,937
?Brighton ?£105,741,728
?Cardiff City ?£102,704,107
?Fulham ?£101,904,692
?Huddersfield Town ?£96,628,865

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