James Rodriguez is unlikely to stay at Bayern Munich once his two-year loan deal from Real Madrid expires at the end of this season, according to Marca – though a return to the Spanish capital has been complicated by the rehiring of Zinedine Zidane.
The Colombia playmaker hasn’t started any of Bayern’s last four games, ostensibly due to injury. He was taken off at half-time in his last appearance, the DFB-Pokal game against Heidenheim, because of a muscle injury and has made only two substitute appearances since.
His unwillingness to stay – James has reportedly told the Bayern board he wants to leave in the summer – is thought to be the reason manager Niko Kovac is reluctant to play him even when fit. The relationship between the pair has deteriorated in recent weeks, especially after the 27-year-old was dropped from the crucial fixture against Borussia Dortmund, which Bayern went onto win 5-0 to take control of the Bundesliga title race.
“We dropped James Rodriguez and Leon Goretzka against Dortmund for technical reasons,” Kovac said ahead of the DFB-Pokal semi-final Werder Bremen.
“This decision led to us winning 5-0, so you ask yourself, ‘why would I change anything?'”
Bayern would have to pay £42 million to make his transfer permanent, with club president Uli Hoeness having previously said he is unwilling to pay such a fee for a player who doesn’t start.
James is under contract at Madrid until 2020, but a lack of playing time under Zidane was one of the reasons he left Los Blancos in the first place. With the Frenchman having rejoined as manager this season, it’s unlikely the Colombian will return to the La Liga club.
Zinedine Zidane may consider Isco a key player but the Real Madrid club hierarchy is willing to sell the player this summer as his transfer valuation reportedly continues to decrease, according to AS.
The Spain playmaker had cut an increasingly forlorn figure under Zidane’s predecessor Santiago Solari, featuring in only 18 per cent of all possible playing time under the Argentine.
However, Zidane’s return in March has seen Isco restored to his first-choice status, with the 27-year-old having played in all seven games under the Frenchman, starting five.
“Isco is a key player for me and one who I like, let’s wait and see what happens,” Zidane said earlier this month when asked about the player’s future.
But the club’s directors are concerned that the potential arrival of Eden Hazard this summer would see Isco forced into a back-up role again, which would reduce his transfer value. Data from Transfermarkt suggests the former Malaga and Valencia star’s valuation has already decreased from €90 million to €60m this season.
Isco’s current deal expires in 2022 and he has shown no inclination to leave the club, though there were rumours of a move to Manchester City when he wasn’t playing under Solari.
Hakim Ziyech’s impressive performances in the Champions League is bearing fruit, with the list of interested buyers growing by the day.
Mirror reported earlier this week that top clubs from England are watching the 26-year-old, with Bayern Munich following closely.
It is believed that Manchester City see him as a replacement for Ilkay Gundogan, who is yet to sign a contract extension. Rivals Manchester United, Arsenal are said to be hot on their trails, too.
The Morocco international could be available for a bargain price of €35-€40 million in the summer and his displays against Real Madrid and Juventus are evidence that this would be a great price.
France Football reported that Inter too have joined the race for the versatile forward. Ziyech was on the verge of signing for Roma, but the Italian club opted for Javier Pastore. Ziyech could still force his way into the Serie A if he chooses to sign for Inter.
Reports suggest that Barcelona also have an eye on the Ajax star, but it’s unlikely that the Catalan giants will push for Ziyech, given important business lies elsewhere in the side.