James Rodriguez has joined Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal, with an option to buy. The Colombian international has struggled for regular game time during the last two seasons at Real Madrid and this summer always looked like the best opportunity for him to leave the Spanish giants. He had been linked to several of the top six Premier League clubs, but has instead opted to move to the Bundesliga.
Since his exploits at the 2014 World Cup, Rodriguez hasn’t been able to reach those heights and many now doubt his status as a world class player. There have been flashes of his quality at Madrid, but he hasn’t emerged as the key figure that he was expected to be after joining the club. Interestingly, it was under Carlo Ancelotti that he had his best period at the Bernabeu and linking back up with the Italian coach will be a good move for his career.
Although the last two seasons were not as promising as his debut campaign in Spain, he still managed to have a goal involvement per minute of 93.04 minutes. This is an excellent return and it is easy to see why he was targeted by Bayern Munich.
His critics will argue that a lot of his contributions weren’t important and that any good attacking player can score and assist in a Real Madrid side, but that is underplaying his achievements significantly. During this period, Rodriguez has played a supporting role and his confidence would have taken a hit. It is impressive that he remained a threat in the final third and, if Bayern manage him correctly, he could produce similar numbers in the Bundesliga.
Where does he fit in at Bayern Munich?
The Bundesliga champions have a talented squad with lots of attacking talent, but some of their key players are progressing in age and reaching the end of their careers. Douglas Costa left the club to make way for Rodriguez, as the Brazilian has joined Juventus on a similar deal. Unlike his fellow South American, the 25-year-old is going to be a starter for Bayern. Ancelotti rates him highly and he will not be forced to play a similar role to the one he had at Real Madrid.
The Bayern manager will know that Arjen Robben (33 years of age) and Franck Ribery (34) are approaching the end of their careers, which means that the club need to source replacements. Although Rodriguez is a different profile of player, he possesses a similar level of ability and, at the age of 25, he has the potential to become even better if utilised correctly.
The Colombian prefers to operate in central areas and attack the penalty area. Furthermore, he looks to create through his vision and passing, rather than pure dynamism. Robben and Ribery are both direct in the final third and, despite Rodriguez having the ability to do similar damage, he often opts for alternative methods.
Have the Premier League missed out?
It is always disappointing to see the Premier League miss out on a quality player and Rodriguez would have been a good addition to the league. That said, there was never a perfect destination for him as no top six team were desperate for a player with his attributes. Another issue would have been the financial package as Real Madrid would have demanded more from a Premier League club, especially when the television revenue is taken into account.