Multiple sources join the dots to decipher Everton star’s next destination

James Rodriguez and Tom Davies in Everton warm up April 2021

James Rodriguez has dropped a hint over his next club as the prospect of him bidding farewell to Everton gathers more weight.

Rodriguez’s future at Everton has been in significant doubt following the departure of Carlo Ancelotti as coach. The Italian manager was a major factor in convincing the playmaker to move to Merseyside after previously working together at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Rodriguez has also played under his successor, Rafael Benitez, before – but with less enjoyment.

Therefore, the Colombia international has been tipped to leave Everton after just one season. Exactly where to remains to be seen – but the player himself has now dropped a major hint.

Rodriguez used the phrase “nunca dejes de creer” in a social media post, accompanied by the ‘soon’ emoji.

Translated into English as “never stop believing”, the Spanish phrase just so happens to be the club motto of Atletico Madrid – a point that has been observed by the Spanish media.

Marca and Mundo Deportivo both lead the claims that Rodriguez is hinting at a transfer to Atletico. It would mark a return to the Spanish capital for the 30-year-old, although this time to the other side of the city divide.

He was actually linked with Atletico before he joined Everton, but Real did not want to sell to their neighbours. Now, Rodriguez may finally be able to make that move after a one-year detour to the Premier League.

No source is yet able to confirm any official approach from Atleti for Rodriguez’s services. He is under contract for another season at Everton, but they may be willing to let him leave.

Benitez backed over Rodriguez treatment

Everton have already signed Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend to bolster their options out wide this summer. It may be a further sign that Benitez is looking to move Rodriguez on.

Opinion will be split over the decision-making, but one man who thinks selling Rodriguez would be the best option is Gabriel Agbonlahor.

“He’s definitely a good player. But there is always a change in style when you change managers,” ex-Premier League striker Agbonlahor told Football Insider.

“Rafa likes high energy on his wings and from his number 10. You won’t get that from Rodriguez.

“What he does have is the flair, the skills and he gets assists. But some managers want other attributes. Rafa will want wingers who can get back and defend. Demarai Gray is a bit like that, Rodriguez isn’t.

“The Premier League is the quickest league in the world, it’s high energy. If Rodriguez isn’t prepared to work, Rafa won’t keep him.”

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