Premier League • England

Everton given chance to reverse controversial Benitez transfer call – ‘I would go back’

James Rodriguez, Lucas Digne, Gylfi Sigurdsson discuss for Everton

Everton have been given all the encouragement they need by the player himself if they want to re-sign James Rodriguez.

The Colombian attacker, 30, was a surprise signing at Goodison Park in 2021. Rodriguez arrived to link up with former manager Carlo Ancelotti. The pair had previously worked together at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

Rodriguez’ time on Merseyside was something of a mixed bag. Indeed, he bagged six goals and nine assists in 27 league appearances. However, his defensive workrate and application was called into question and his time was disrupted by several minor injuries.

James Rodriguez always appeared a poor fit when the Toffees controversially chose Rafael Benitez to succeed Ancelotti in the summer.

The Spaniard prefers more workmanlike wingers, evidenced by his faith in Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend.

Rodriguez was quickly frozen out before finding an escape route to Qatari side Al-Rayyan.

However, when recently speaking on Twitch (via Goal), Rodriguez opened the door for a return to Everton.

“It was the coach’s decision” – James Rodriguez

The classy playmaker described the Toffees as a “spectacular club” and insisted he’d have stayed if not for Benitez.

“Go back to Everton one day? Of course I would go back to Everton,” said Rodriguez.

“It’s a spectacular club with incredible fans, but I found a coach who didn’t want to count on me.

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“I wanted to stay there but the manager didn’t want to count on me. Until the last day I was super-professional and I trained to the fullest.

“I wanted to be remembered as I am, a good person and a great professional. It was the coach’s decision. Some people love you and others don’t, you have to respect that.”

There has been no indication Everton are actively interested in re-signing Rodriguez at present. However, given the player’s revelations, a deal looks there for Everton if they seek one.

Everton complete deadline-beating Russian deal

Meanwhile, Everton flop Jean-Philippe Gbamin has joined CSKA Moscow on loan until May, while the Russian club are also engaged in talks with Leicester over another transfer.

Gbamin signed for Everton in August 2019, after the Toffees agreed a £25million deal with Bundesliga outfit Mainz. However, the defensive midfielder’s spell at Goodison Park has been categorised by one injury absence after another.

The Ivory Coast star made just eight first-team appearances across two-and-a-half years at Everton. Now, with the Russian transfer deadline open until midnight on Tuesday, Gbamin has joined CSKA.

There is not thought to be the option for a permanent move as part of the deal. That means 26-year-old Gbamin will likely return to Merseyside in the summer.

The Daily Mail claim CSKA Moscow are also in talks over the signing of Leicester midfielder Nampalys Mendy.

The 29-year-old has struggled with a groin problem this term. He is also well down in the Leicester pecking order, resulting in just one senior appearance during 2021-22.

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