In the conclusion to one of the summer’s longest and vaguest transfer sagas, James Rodríguez will be leaving Real Madrid on a two-year loan to German superpower Bayern Munich. Bayern officially tweeted out the deal on Tuesday, the day before the Colombian star’s 26th birthday.
In an accompanying statement posted to their website, Bayern head Karl-Heinz Rummenigge praised James’ generational talent: “We’re delighted we’ve been able to complete this transfer. Signing James Rodriguez was our coach Carlo Ancelotti’s biggest wish, following their successful spell working together in Madrid. James is a very versatile player. He’s a goalscorer himself, he sets up a lot of goals, and on top of that he’s great from set pieces.”
This announcement set the football world ablaze this morning, as everyone chimed in their two cents on the move. One thing no one could deny? This was a bargain deal for Bayern: a low-risk, high-reward move for one of the strongest clubs in Europe. Marca‘s Chris Winterburn tweeted some details to the deal, saying, “Bayern Munich’s option to buy James Rodriguez is at a bizarrely low £31 million with a £4.4 million annual loan fee.”
Being able to buy the Colombian trequartista for such a low fee has to be relief for Bayern: after attempting and failing to land Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez–whose wage requests allegedly would have been too much for the German side–James will be a great consolation prize, giving them the midfield depth needed to make a deep run in the Champions League.
James joined Real in the summer of 2014 after a breakout performance with Colombia in the 2014 World Cup. After making an immediate impact in his first campaign in the Spanish capital, he suffered an injury while on international duty early in the 2015-16 season. The injury never allowed the young star to get back on track, and by the time Rafa Benitez was replaced by Zinedine Zidane as manager, James had tumbled down the depth chart, and the new boss never gave the Colombian a fair shot.
Despite his recent struggles fitting in with Real, James is still capable of being one of the premiere playmakers in the game. According to Squawka Football, he accounted for 55 goals (28 goals and 27 assists) in La Liga over his last three seasons; more than any other La Liga midfielder.