Everton’s hopes of bringing James Rodriguez to Goodison in the summer transfer window have received a boost following comments from a Colombian World Cup legend.
The Toffees have emerged as one of several Premier League clubs showing interest in the Real Madrid playmaker and could be at the front of the queue due to his strong relationship with Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Former Real boss Ancelotti knows James well from their time together at the Bernabeu and also brought the player with him to Bayern Munich.
And now reports in the Spanish media claim the pair are set to be reunited for a third time with Ancelotti, who moved from Napoli to Merseyside earlier this season, set to link up with Rodriguez again.
Rodriguez has also been linked with Arsenal and Wolves, but Marca now state his relationship with Ancelotti is poised to win the day for Everton and a move to Goodison will be agreed when the transfer window reopens.
Those hopes received a lift when Carlos Valderrama, widely regarded as Colombia’s greatest ever player, urged his compatriot to quit Madrid having struggled to make the expected impact at the Spanish giants.
“James is big enough to make his own decisions now,” Valderrama told Caracol Radio.
“If it was me, I’d be running away from Madrid.
“He’s good enough to play for any team. I wouldn’t doubt him for an instant.
“He’s a great player, he’s already proved it.
“He can start for any other team, he’s got the quality to play anywhere in the world.”
James shot to fame in the 2014 World Cup when scoring six times to win the Golden Boot.
That secured him a big-money move from AS Monaco to Real Madrid where he’s scored 37 goals in 124 appearances.
The 28-year-old was named in the La Liga Team of the Season in his first campaign but then signed a two-year loan deal with German giants Bayern Munich in 2017.
Since returning to Madrid, he’s been hampered by injuries and seems surplus to requirements, putting several Premier League clubs on alert.
According to Marca, those teams are Everton, Arsenal and Wolves.
The Gunners are long-term admirers of the Colombian and were believed to be the first club to make an approach to Madrid.
Wolves, meanwhile, have a connection through the player’s agent, Jorge Mendes.
But if James feels under-appreciated by current Real coach Zinedine Zidane, hooking up with his former Bernebeu boss Ancelotti could be the move he needs to feel valued again.