James Rodriguez's Everton future: why is he surplus to requirements and which could club he join next?

James Rodriguez appears set for an exit from Everton this summer.

James Rodriguez in action for Everton against Tottenham last season. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Despite moving to Goodison Park from Real Madrid on a free transfer just a year ago, the Columbian is surplus to requirements under new boss Rafa Benitez.

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At a glance: 5 key points

- Rodriguez emerged to stardom at the 2014 World Cup when playing a key role in Columbia reaching the quarter-finals. He won the Golden Boot with six goals and was named in the tournament’s All-Star XI.

- The forward earned a £63m move to Spanish supergiants Real Madrid from Monaco in the summer of 2014.

- Rodriguez won two Champions League titles and two La Liga crowns at the Santiago Bernabeu.

- He was shipped out on a two-year loan deal to Bayern Munich in 2017, helping the German giants claim back-to-back Bundesliga titles.

- Rodriguez recorded an impressive six goals and nine assists in 26 appearances during his maiden season at Everton in 2020-21.

What’s he said about his future?

By his own admission, Rodriguez is unsure whether he’ll remain at Everton for the upcoming 2021-22 season.

However, the ex-Monaco playmaker aims to ply his trade at a club where he feels ‘wanted’.

Speaking to a live Twitch stream, he said: “I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know – I don't know where I'm going to play.

“You know that in football and in life you don't know anything, but all I know is that I've been training hard, preparing well, training for myself and that's it.

“It's complicated. [I will play] wherever I'm wanted. Someone has to be at a place they're wanted.”

Background

Rodriguez has a year remaining on his current Everton deal, with the club holding the option of an additional 12 months.

However, there are various reasons why the Toffees are willing to allow him to depart if a suitable bid is tabled.

Benitez is believed to have doubts about whether the 30-year-old can fit into the intensity of the style of football he wants to play at Goodison.

The Spaniard holds reservations about whether Rodiguez is willing to put in the hard graft out of possession.

Meanwhile, offloading the former Bayern Munich ace would free up significant funds as Benitez continues his summer overhaul.

Rodriguez is reportedly the club’s top earner on £220,000 per week.

Having been available for only 23 of the 38 league games last season, Benitez is aware he could make better use of those finances to bolster his squad.

Where’s his likely destination if he does leave?

As per the Daily Mail, a reunion with Ancelloti at Real Madrid is unlikely to happen.

Instead, AC Milan looks to be Rodriguez’s likeliest destination. He’s currently 6/4 to complete a move to the San Siro, according to Oddschecker.

A return to Porto – where he scored 32 goals in 107 appearances earlier in his career – has also been mooted, while Napoli and Athletico Madrid have both been mentioned.

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