James Rodríguez in Qatar for possible move away from Everton

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James Rodríguez has travelled to Qatar for talks over a possible move from Everton 12 months after his arrival from Real Madrid.

The Colombia international’s future at Goodison Park has been uncertain since Carlo Ancelotti surprisingly returned to Madrid in June. Ancelotti had been instrumental in the 30-year-old’s decision to join Everton on an initial two-year contract worth in the region of £200,000 a week.

Rodríguez has yet to feature under Rafael Benítez this season and was informed early in the summer that he was free to find another club as Everton went about reducing their wage bill.

Potential moves to Porto and Istanbul Basaksehir failed to materialise during the European transfer window but an alternative is the Middle East. The Qatar club Al Rayyan have been reported as a possible destination, although negotiations are at an early stage.

The playmaker missed the start of Benítez’s debut season at Everton with Covid issues but has been overlooked since returning to full training. He scored six goals in 26 appearances for the club last season, when a highly impressive start was disrupted by injury.

Benítez has said Everton’s reaction to the first defeat of his tenure can have a major bearing on the rest of their season. Everton visit Queens Park Rangers in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday when they could be again without Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Séamus Coleman and Jordan Pickford. All four missed Saturday’s 3-0 loss at Aston Villa through injury but Benítez, who will also be without Jean-Philippe Gbamin, expects an immediate response to the end of his unbeaten run.

The manager said: “We have to be realistic. We know what we were and what we have done. We are doing really well but we knew sooner or later we would have a defeat and needed to react and be sure everybody could understand it is part of the game. How you react is key for the future.”

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