Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

It’s been around seven years since the links first emerged and they have been part and parcel of pretty much every transfer window since.
James Rodriguez, though, never did make a move to Manchester United, instead he found his way to the Premier League with Everton.
And on Saturday – live on talkSPORT – he will come up against the side who snubbed him, and then he rejected.
James Rodriguez is loving life at Everton
The Colombia star, now 29, was a fresh-faced kid starring in Portugal in 2013 when speculation first arrived on our shores about creative a midfielder who was attracting interest across Europe.
He had been known to top clubs for some time before that. A precocious talent, he made his senior debut in Colombian football at second division side Envigado aged just 14, way back in 2006.
A move to Argentina materialised and by 2009 he had made his debut in their top flight with Banfield.
Monitored by scouts, Manchester United were alerted soon after, three years before the paper talk began, but despite recruitment specialists informing the club about his ability, he was assessed as ‘unsuited’ to the Premier League.
Kia Joorabchian reveals the reasons behind James Rodriguez’s move to Everton
According to Marcelo Teixeira, Manchester United, as far back as 2010, believed the player wasn’t right for England’s top flight.
Uniteds scout in Argentina, Jose Mayorga, was a big fan of James, said Teixeira, employed by the Red Devils in South America between 2008 and 2011. Mayorga always included James name in his reports, but the evaluation from the club was that his playing style didnt suit the Premier League.
Basically, their analysis was that he didnt have the speed required to thrive and adapt to the intensity of the (English) game.”
It’s not an unreasonable reason to dismiss Rodriguez, but in retrospect it does look regrettable.
Rodriguez celebrates scoring for Banfield
A jump from his home nation, where he’d created a burgeoning reputation, to Porto was the perfect first step to help manage expectations of his talent.
An intelligent footballer rather than a physical specimen, Rodriguez’s step-by-step route to the top has worked in the long run.
But the player did have a close shave with Everton before that leap across the pond.
According to Michael Calvin’s book, The Nowhere Men, the Toffees had the young Colombian on their radar but his lack of international experience meant a work permit would not be forthcoming.
With no affiliated club to help them land the player and loan him out, they were forced to admit defeat on the transfer.
Rodriguez was able to prove himself in European football with Porto
In Portugal, his three-season spell saw him tally 25 goals and 28 assists in the league alone, while he had two Champions League campaigns, and one in the Europa League.
Europe was taking note and Manchester United were back among his suitors, but Rodriguez would be the one to kibosh a move to Old Trafford this time.
Yes, I think there was some kind of talk there, Rodriguez told club legend Rio Ferdinand. My manager has a great relationship with the club, his name is Jorge Mendes.
We always dream of getting in a big club. Since I was a child, I always admired Manchester. I always saw those teams with Rio together with [Ryan] Giggs and [Paul] Scholes, there were a lot of prodigious players and I wanted to get there in that year. But, it didnt happen.
I thought I had to play for a club that wasnt so big. From there, I went to France just before the World Cup and my plan was to go to the World Cup, have a great participation there, score goals, reach a good level and from there, play for a big club. Then, the Real Madrid [transfer in 2014] happened.
Ancelotti and Rodriguez has been an excellent combination at three clubs now
Even at Real, United were continually linked with signing the player, especially when he became out of favour at the Bernabeu. There was even talk of him being used in a swap deal for Paul Pogba.
Under Zinedine Zidane, playing time was hard to come by but United never got the deal done to sign him.
Carlo Ancelotti, under who Rodriguez enjoyed his best season with Los Blancos, took him to Bayern Munich on a two-year loan in 2017, but once the Italian was dismissed at the start of the second campaign he once again found himself around the fringes.
And after last year’s dismal time back at Real, it was Ancelotti and Everton, who courted him as far back as 2010, not Man United who came in for him in the summer.
Rodriguez joined Everton from Real Madrid in 2020
His free transfer has been a great success. Some pundits thought, like the Red Devils’ recruitment staff 10 years ago, Rodriguez might take time to adjust to the Premier League.
Instead, he hit the ground running. His show against Tottenham on the opening day of the season was almost effortless, his passing from the left flank dazzling his opponents, while snapping in three shots on Hugo Lloris’ goal.
It wasn’t just his attacking talents which impressed. He managed two tackles and three interceptions to help his side to a 1-0 victory in north London.
He’s not been a one-game wonder either, his talents have been on show ever since.
Rodriguez has made an outstanding start to his Everton career
Against West Brom, Crystal Palace, Brighton, Southampton, and even Liverpool he has put up some excellent statistics and most importantly has three goals and three assists.
After an enforced absence through a testicle injury, Rodriguez is now set to return as Everton host Manchester United – a match which is live and exclusive on talkSPORT – and he’s set to show once again he’s more than suitable for the Premier League. He’s already one of it’s top attractions thanks to his huge following on social media.
The Toffees have hit a bump in the road following a stunning start to the season but with the Colombian back from injury he could create some big problems for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side who are struggling domestically.
There could be a few more regrets about the Red Devils’ failure to sign him by Saturday evening.