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Why Real Madrid Should Sell James Rodriguez In January

James Rodriguez’s future at Real Madrid is once again in the air, given his comments after the Club World Cup Final on Sunday.

After Real Madrid’s 4-2 victory over Kashima Antlers in the FIFA Club World Cup Final, you would think everyone would be talking about Madrid’s amazing year that included three international titles. Nope. All the attention shifted to James Rodriguez’s post match comments saying that he couldn’t guarantee he would continue with Real Madrid and wanted to play more.

James’ situation has been interesting since the arrival of Rafa Benitez last season. He wasn’t a starter under Benitez, Zidane took over and put him back in the 11, then dropped him, and now James is sometimes not even one of the three substitutes that comes on, a decision that at times has been highly criticized in his native Colombia. Rumors have even circulated that there may be a personal reason behind his lack of playing time.

Of course, there is no evidence to prove that, but no manager would be stubborn enough to throw stones at someone else's glass house. Zidane isn’t going to bench a top class player that cost Real Madrid $107 million for some kind of personal reason. If James isn’t a regular starter, the only person he has to blame is himself. 

This is just a personal opinion, but if James wants to leave and there is a good offer on the table, Real Madrid should sell him right now in January. An argument can be made to hold onto him until the summer with Madrid banned from making any signings during the upcoming January market. However, in spite of that ban, Real Madrid should still go ahead with the transfer for four reasons:

1. Real Madrid Won The Transfer Ban Appeal

On Tuesday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced Madrid’s transfer ban from two windows to one. Real Madrid will only be sanctioned for the upcoming transfer window in January. 

2. Deep Squad

Real Madrid have a deep enough squad to replace James. Players like Lucas Vazquez, Isco, Asensio, and Kovacic are already getting more playing time than James. Even if Real Madrid are eying a replacement for James, they could always make the signing now and loan him out for the next six months. 

3. Market Value Decreases

Despite his recent struggles, James is still recognized as a world class player. There is a reason Real Madrid paid so much money for him. Regardless, his market value goes down the more time he spends on the bench. Not to mention there are two notable teams that will be eager to bring in a player of his class on board once the window opens: Chelsea and Manchester United. Chelsea will need to replace the departure of Oscar to China and Manchester United are desperate to bring in more top talent to strengthen the squad. Along with the fact that neither team is playing Champions League football this season, there may be a good opportunity for Florentino Perez to regain the money invested in James. If a good offer is presented, Madrid should move forward with the deal.

4. Zidane

Zidane’s management of James Rodriguez has been a little peculiar since taking over. James might come off the bench for a couple of games, then get a few starts, return to the bench, doesn’t play for a week or two, and then starts the most important game of the season. Just look at Madrid’s last 13 league and international fixtures:

Legia Warsaw: Starter

Athletic Bilbao: Did Not Play

Deportivo Alaves: Did Not Play

Legia Warsaw: Did Not Play

Leganes: Substitute 

Atletico Madrid: Substitute

Sporting de Portugal: Did Not Play

Sporting Gijon: Starter

Barcelona: Did Not Play

Borussia Dortmund: Starter

Deportivo de La Coruña: Starter

Club America: Substitute

Kashima Antlers: Did Not Play 

At times, it almost looks like Zidane is confused with how to manage James while already playing Cristiano, Benzema and Bale in the starting 11. It’s normal to leave players out when they are struggling with form, but it’s not common for a coach to start a player in the team’s most important international game (Borussia Dortmund) when he was left on the bench just a few days earlier in the most important league fixture (Barcelona) of the season. Regardless, if Zidane doesn’t figure out what to do with James on the field, then it would probably be best to cash in when January comes around.    

All eyes will be in the Spanish capital once the winter transfer window opens on January 1st. We won’t know until then. However, based on what’s transpired this week, it all looks to indicate that James Rodriguez will be plying his trade somewhere in England by the end of January. 

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