With James Rodriguez leaving Everton for Qatari club Al-Rayyan barely a year after his celebrated arrival at Goodison Park, Sky Sports News reporter Alan Myers reflects on the Colombian’s much-publicized move to Merseyside, why it didn’t. not worked and what its exit means for the club to move forward …
First of all, I think the overwhelming feeling for Everton fans is disappointment. Firstly because it didn’t work, but also because none of them could see him play. His entire Everton career has been played behind closed doors and even the last home game of last season when 6,500 fans were at Goodison Park he was not involved as he was injured.
A lot of fans would have loved to see him play for Everton as there was a lot of excitement surrounding his arrival. It was almost a feeling of disbelief that he was joining Real Madrid. This decision was accompanied by the euphoria that still reigned on the part of Carlo Ancelotti also coming to the club.
It looked like there was going to be a new direction at Everton under Ancelotti, with the arrival of James and other signings such as Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure. With these signings, it seemed like the club was taking a step forward.
As we all know by now, it didn’t work out. Ancelotti left very suddenly to go to Real Madrid and now James is gone after one season, in which he made 23 Premier League appearances, scored six goals and recorded four assists.
These two outputs are not connected. From what I was told, James had already decided he didn’t want to continue playing at Everton before Ancelotti’s announcement. He was unhappy and would have liked to leave earlier.
Ever since new manager Rafa Benitez arrived – and with James effectively ruled out on the side – there has been speculation that James was not in line with his plans. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. The only person I wouldn’t blame in all of this at all is Benitez.
Benitez wants people committed to the club and he knew right away that this player wanted to go – and if he does, he has to move on. Benitez doesn’t have time to see if he could talk to him. Keep in mind that Benitez was also under tremendous pressure.
Even the best clubs can’t transport players who don’t really want to be there and that’s especially true at Everton, who need 100% commitment, as we’ve seen with Andros Townsend.
So where did it go wrong?
I think it was a perfect storm.
Personally, I don’t think Everton is able to have players like James right now. What you might call luxury players. There is absolutely no doubt about the talent of James and players at his level but they are swimming in a different pond and I don’t think Everton is there.
Everton have yet to build a mentality and ethics. They need people who will join in, people who want to be there, people who want to be part of the team.
The goal is of course to have this kind of players and this kind of workforce, with a high-level manager. But there’s a lot of building and basic stuff to put in place first, when it comes to the team.
Because of what’s going on with the stadium and everything else off the pitch, people automatically equate that to the team moving to another level. The club maybe, but that doesn’t necessarily follow with the team.
When things aren’t going well as a team, players like James are the first to talk about it because they’re used to a different level and that’s what I think is the problem.
Whether it’s his fault, or the club’s fault for having it, or a manager’s fault, I don’t know. I think it’s a combination of everything. But it’s really an avalanche effect. Once the foundation starts to crack, everything falls over.
It was a great opportunity for James. He was well taken care of and he was also very popular at the club. But it wasn’t like he was in great shape when he came to Everton. And I think he might have started to panic because things were already not going well for him – in terms of his last seasons at Real Madrid and on loan at Bayern Munich – and he saw the pitch shift. again under him with the performance of the team, which aggravates the problem.
Add to that the financial situation. It’s no secret that Everton is near the threshold of the rules of ‘Profit and Sustainability’, which is in fact the financial fairplay of the Premier League. In the last transfer window, they were working on a one-in-one basis.
However, James was the highest paid player in Everton Football Club history. They tried to make a deal with him to go to Porto and then to a club in the United Arab Emirates, but that didn’t happen until the transfer deadline. They have now managed to strike a deal with Al-Rayyan.
It’s not an avenue that Everton will be going down anytime soon, certainly not from a financial standpoint.
The past five years have been a real lesson for owner Farhad Moshiri. They have spent over Â£ 500million and they still come out of the Carabao Cup in the third round, struggling in the league, finishing 10th. It is not good enough for the money that has been spent.
It is not the fault of one person, it is a collective responsibility and the owner has to look at it and say to himself, âWas it the right thing to do? Do we need a different strategy? ‘.
Because bringing James in didn’t work for Everton or the player.