An Exclusive Look at the Details Behind James Rodríguez’s Move To Everton

Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla

Translation by Julia Pretsfelder. Puedes leer este texto en español aquí

James Rodriguez’s transfer to Everton is an important operation that’s in the best interest of both the ‘Toffees’ and the forward.

During the last 6 years, the Colombian star has become one of the most important players in the world. It all began during Brazil’s World Cup in 2014 when, with his 6 goals, he won the Golden Boot. In addition, his move to Real Madrid for 80 million euros, physical prowess, and talent on the field has made him the fourth soccer player and the sixth athlete with the most followers on Instagram (46 million) in the entire world. Because of this, and more, his arrival in Everton (1.8 million followers) will make its mark on Rodriguez the British club’s history.

The player, contracted by major brands, has had a career full of highs and lows. For example, Zinedine Zidane, the historic French player, is the head coach with whom James has shared his worst 3 years. Zidane is his childhood hero, but James is a benched player for Zidane. Because of that, and more, getting out of there has been paramount for Shannon de Lima’s boyfriend.

It wasn’t an easy task. The 29-year-old had a one year contract (a fact that reduces his value), a very high salary (8.5 million Euros per year), and rights to his image that are difficult to follow.

The story needed a third chapter.

James Rodriguez reacts during the Copa America Brazil 2019 quarterfinal match between Colombia and Chile at Arena Corinthians on June 28, 2019 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Carletto Ancelotti, a trainer of Everton, was with James in his first year on Real Madrid along with his first year on Bayern Múnich—the two best years for the midfielder. The Rodriguez – Everton operation was impossible, and his coach made that clear a month ago. But Iranian businessman Kia Joorabchian came up with the idea that turned this dream into a reality.

The Middle Eastern intermediary asked Jorge Mendes—James Rodriguez’s agent who is often lauded as the best in the world of soccer—if he would want to join Everton; after he got the ‘yes’ along with the blue team’s endorsement, the saga began. On August 25, Joorabchian brought a deal to Real Madrid that they liked immediately. Remezcla had exclusive access to knowledge on this split deal:

  • 15M € for Real Madrid
  • A 5M€ signing bonus for James Rodriguez
  • 2M€ for the clubs that formed the Colombian until he turned 23 (Envigado, Banfield, Porto y Mónaco) exercising what FIFA requested in its Mechanism of Solidarity.

The second step was convincing him. In terms of the sport, this wouldn’t be a problem because he wanted to return to the game. Then, of course, the issues were economic because, at Real Madrid, Rodríguez made 1.9M€ more than the highest-grossing players on Everton—Bernard and Yerry Mina, who make 6.8M€ each.

After negotiating over the course of a week, James and Everton ultimately agreed to sign for 2 years with the option of one more, and a salary of 7 million pounds, reducing his previous salary by 28%, but still making him the biggest earner on the ‘blue’ team.

James traveled to London on Wednesday, September 2, and met with his agent and intermediary in the office of Bill Kenwright, Everton’s president. Their discussions were described to Remezcla as “extremely positive.” On Thursday, he passed the medical exams, and on Friday he was due to sign a contract. But that didn’t happen because Real Madrid didn’t want to assume the costs. While this obstacle was being resolved, Rodríguez and Ancelotti dined at a restaurant in Liverpool.

Finally, Everton paid the 3M€ required, arriving at 25M€ in total for the entire transfer, so that the trade would not fall. So, it was on Monday, September 7, that the Liverpool office made the announcement.

Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates with his teammate Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez of Real Madrid CF after scoring the opening goal during the Liga match between Sevilla FC and Real Madrid CF at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on September 22, 2019 in Seville, Spain. Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

This move may bring an important hurdle for James Rodríguez, who will work with his trusted trainer on a historic team. Even so, Everton hasn’t been a protagonist since 1987, isn’t a ‘Top 3’ in La Liga and doesn’t frequently make it to European competitions—but that’s when James is at his best: when he has little to lose and a lot to win. Here, he’ll have the opportunity to help the team in its objectives.

On Everton’s side of the equation, the cost is high but will be redeemed in what James means in terms of digital marketing and publicity. It’s not for nothing that they’ve publicized his signing at sites inBogotá, LiverpoolMiami andNew York. Furthermore, publishing the team’s official announcement in Spanish will have a global commercial reach—about 400 million people on that day alone.