Since Carlo Ancelotti took over at Bayern Munich, there have been transfer rumors linking James Rodriguez to Munich. Rodriguez’s lack of use under Zinedine Zidane served to underscore those rumors, but I don’t think many people took them seriously for a multitude of reasons. On Monday all of that changed as somehow the promising, and already accomplished, Colombian playmaker joined Bayern on a two-year loan.
Bayen have been very clear that they needed depth more than they needed a balanced equation this season. Scuttling the Douglas Costa transfer to Juventus was probable unless they could find the key, and depth, they needed. And exactly as the rumored Alexis Sanchez-Costa series of moves would have accomplished, the Costa-James series of moves gives Bayern Munich an entirely new dimension.
It’s no coincidence this move happened in concert with Costa leaving for Juventus. Add in Kingsley Coman’s permanent addition this offseason, and it simply a fact that there were too many men playing the same role and vying for too few minutes on this team. And neither Costa nor Coman could bring the creative juices that Arjen Robben did on the right to attacking midfield.
Rodriguez is a much slower player than Costa, but his technical skill on the ball and passing acumen make him more of a role substitute for Arjen Robben. A force who can beat players on the slow dribble or with a defense-splitting pass, Rodriguez is first and foremost a creative monster. With Rodriguez in tow, Bayern are no longer reliant on the Dutchman’s fickle health to largely buoy their offensive creativity.
And really that’s been one of the core complaints since Toni Kroos left for Real Madrid. Bayern were largely bereft of attacking creativity without Arjen Robben and while Thiago’s roaring form last season gave them much of that spark back, the Spaniard was more often than not stretched thin; charged with leading build up play and attacking creativity.
On paper, James Rodriguez solves quite a few of the lingering problems that have plagued Bayern over the past three years. The remaining question is whether he can solve it on the pitch.