With less than 48 hours to go until the transfer deadline the future of James Rodriguez remains uncertain.
What’s clear is that Everton manager Rafa Benitez does not see the Colombian in his plans and is keen to get his rumoured £200,000-a-week wages off the books to help fund deals elsewhere.
Unfortunately, in a compressed market (outside the super clubs) there is little appetite to pick up such a hefty tab for a player whose injury record and consistency can be called into question.
Reports of a part-exchange deal with FC Porto emerged at the end of last week, with James’ compatriot Luis Diaz coming to Goodison. It would certainly kill two birds with one stone, while a return to one of his former clubs would carry with it a certain romance. However, James’ hefty wages again look to be the stumbling block.
If Porto aren’t interested, who else is?
EXCLUSIVA: Más allá de querer fichar a Luis Díaz (24), la prioridad de #Everton en este momento es vender o ceder a James Rodríguez (30)— Pipe Sierra (@PSierraR) August 30, 2021
Los ‘Toffees’ siguen incluyéndolo en ofertas al #Porto, pero no hay acuerdo aún. varios clubes lo quieren, incluido #ACMilan @_pauljoyce pic.twitter.com/NPTcQCTqsb
Colombian reporter Pipe Sierra claims AC Milan are interested in the 30-year-old. This is not a new link, the Italian club had been credited with an interest earlier in the summer. However, this was shot down just as quickly as it emerged by an Italian journalist Antonio Vitiello, who claimed James is not a target for the Rossoneri.
The Liverpool Echo however have since said Milan may yet make a move for James before the deadline after all, though it seems some intense negotiations are needed to get the deal over the line.
With the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules giving Everton precious little wriggle room, they face a delicate balancing act as the deadline approaches.
This could well be part of the negotiating game, with each party determined to get the best deal for themselves. Everton have a number of dominoes in play and they just need them to fall in place.
The risk of course, is if they fail to reach an agreement and the whole thing comes crashing down.
We all know how talented James can be on his day, but having made it perfectly clear he is not in his plans, how would Benitez re-integrate him back into the squad?
All will (hopefully) become clearer in the next 48 hours.