James Rodriguez is all but set to leave Real Madrid during the summer, sparking a bidding war between a number of Premier League clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester United.
Reports from Spanish sports daily AS suggest that manager Zinedine Zidane has lost faith with the Colombian, with Rodriguez only featuring in 33 per cent of Real’s games so far this season.
However, it is not just the coaching staff which have lost confidence in him, the club’s directors are also sensing now is the time to sell and that he is unlikely to be at the Bernabeu next season.
Previously, when Rodriguez has fallen out of favour, support from the club’s hierarchy has kept him in favour but that support is now dwindling.
The 25-year-old is seen as the most marketable player in the squad behind Cristiano Ronaldo given his South American links, but he has been left out of the promotional photos for Fly Emirates, one of the club’s most important sponsors – again suggesting he will not be in the Spanish capital much longer.
If Rodriguez does leave this summer, the main stumbling block would be the fee it would take to prize him away, with Madrid hoping to recoup the €80m the spent to sign him from Monaco after the 2014 World Cup.
Chelsea are the front runners for his signature given Real’s interest in Eden Hazard and he could be offered as a makeweight in that deal or if they go for Thibaut Courtois.
Similarly, they could use him as a bargaining chip to get David De Gea from Manchester United but Jose Mourinho is understood to be more interested in Raphael Varane and would prefer the defender to be part of the deal rather than Rodriguez.