Premier League • England

Benitez finally nears ideal James Rodriguez solution as Everton exit close

James Rodriguez Everton Colombia

Everton attacker James Rodriguez has travelled to Qatar as a solution to his Toffees nightmare nears, according to reports.

The Merseyside club turned heads last summer by signing the Colombia international from Real Madrid. He did so mainly on the premise of playing under Carlo Ancelotti again. Indeed, Everton was the third club at which they have worked together.

But despite a fast start in his first five Premier League games – including a standout display against Liverpool – his form and minutes dropped off.

What’s more, Ancelotti’s departure led to to the focus turning to James’ exit from Goodison Park. Everton failed with an attempt to trade him in a deal with Porto for Luis Diaz.

James also had links with a move to AC Milan. New manager Rafael Benitez had made clear that the player could leave if a suitable avenue opened up.

According to The Times journalist Paul Joyce, James is now in Qatar as he closes in on his Everton exit.

The Liverpool Echo does not reveal the name of his proposed new club, either.

However, the newspaper says that he would play out the remaining months of his Everton contract with his move to Qatar.

Everton Transfer Review

We have a look into Everton's dealings over the transfer window.

The Toffees signed James on an initial two-year contract, with the option to extend by a year. Although, Everton will not take up that option after the sour turn to his career on Merseyside.

Nevertheless, Benitez has enjoyed success with his own signings since taking over from Ancelotti.

Forward Demarai Gray has had a fantastic start to the season alongside former Crystal Palace man Andros Townsend.

Benitez reveals James Rodriguez concern

James Rodriguez and Tom Davies in Everton warm up April 2021

Benitez said earlier this season that James could actually make his way back into the Everton team if he proved his fitness and commitment.

However, the manager said after Saturday’s defeat to Aston Villa that the Colombian had a muscle concern.

“For this game, he was a little bit concerned about his muscle,” Benitez said.

“He was having a little problem and we decided we have to wait, so he was not available. That’s it.”

“We will see if he’s fit for the next game and then we will decide.”

Everton return to action on Tuesday when facing Queens Park Rangers away from home in the Carabao Cup.

Top five punditry partnerships – Jimmy Greaves, Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and more