James Rodriguez admits to having admired Manchester United throughout his career, with interest from Old Trafford shunned when he moved to Monaco, and claims to have seen a “really good offer” knocked back by Real Madrid in the summer of 2019.
The Colombia international has long seen a move to the Premier League mooted, with his creative qualities considered a good fit for English football.
Those at Old Trafford have been credited with holding long-standing interest in the talented South American, with James first sounded out by the Red Devils when he was preparing to leave Porto in 2013.
Having proven himself in European football, the 28-year-old was ready for another challenge – and had Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent , Jorge Mendes, managing his career – but a switch to France was ultimately favoured, before then heading to Real Madrid on the back of the 2014 World Cup.
“I think there was some kind of talk there,” James told Rio Ferdinand’s ‘The Locker Room’ on his past links to United.
“My manager has a great relationship with the club, and his name is Jorge Mendes.
“Well, we always dream of getting in a big club. Since I was a child I always admired Manchester. I always saw those teams with Rio, with [Ryan] Giggs and [Paul] Scholes, there were a lot of prodigious players, and I wanted to get there in that year, but it didn’t happen.
“I thought that I had to play for a club that wasn’t so big. From there I went to France, just before the World Cup.
“My plan was to go to the World Cup, have great participation there, score goals, reach a good level and from there play for a big club. Then the Real Madrid thing happened.”
James has experienced a rollercoaster of emotions in Spain, with La Liga and Champions League triumphs countered by being sent on loan to Bayern Munich and struggling for game time in the current campaign.
He admits that he had been hoping to secure a permanent move away from the Blancos on the back of two years in Germany, but those at Santiago Bernabeu snubbed what he considered to be a tempting offer.
Explaining that decision, James said: “I stayed this year because… Let me tell you what happened.
“Last summer I got a really good offer from a club, I don’t want to say the name, but I could go there because I knew that I wouldn’t play much here. I knew it.
“So I got this offer from this club and I haven’t been allowed to leave due to several issues. So basically I’m here this year because of the circumstances, not because I wanted to be, because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to play much.
“But here I’m learning every day and hopefully in the future I will be able to play more. I know that I have the talent and I believe in my daily work.”
James continues to generate exit talk ahead of the next window, with the likes of Atletico Madrid and Everton among those said to be closely monitoring his situation.