It might be time for Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and James Rodriguez to all put the Magic 8-Ball down and figure out where the Colombia international will spend the next few years of his career.
Per a report by Sport1, however, it might be Niko Kovac who ultimately holds the cards in what happens with James. Despite the player’s apparent desire to make an exit, there are some at the club, who would like him to stay — either to flip for a profit or to retain for depth purposes. The true intention of any formal Bayern plan is not yet known.
Within the club, however, it can be heard that in the James case everything is still open - regardless of what the player wants. Sports director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed on Saturday that the people in charge would only be intensively discussing James’ future after the cup final.
This account seemingly goes against reports from earlier in the week that indicated that James had made the decision to move on from Bavaria. Regardless, the interplay between James and Kovac is another key factor in the situation. Sport1 asserts that the relationship between player and coach is supposedly amicable on the surface, but is without a true interpersonal connection, which is not something that has been lost on the club’s front office.
Either way, Bayern has until June 15th, finalize its plan with James even as report have circulated that the decision has already been made.
An internal power struggle?
This whole saga could ultimately come down to what appears to be a power struggle within the club front office. Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is a fan of James, but reportedly not overly keen on Kovac, while president Uli Hoeness is in Kovac’s corner. Per Sport1, Hoeness has also stated that the decision on James should ultimately be made by Kovac.
When it comes to his teammates, James is reportedly not “isolated”, despite not having learned German over the past two years. With so many Spanish-speaking teammates, James has at least had that outlet to pass the time. Still, even his closest confidants expect James to leave.
Despite language barriers, James is not considered isolated within the team. His teammates know about his exceptional footballing qualities. However, according to Sport1 information, there are already players who expect his departure.
In the end, James’ desire to be on the field consistently is what seems to be driving the 27-year-old. Within the locker room, most acknowledge that rising past Thomas Muller on the Bayern depth chart will be no easy task.
They, too, know that James has a hard time getting past top dog Thomas Muller, who recently played well again.
Of course, the other side of this coin is that Kovac, himself, is allegedly under fire with Bayern and if the coach is sacked after the DFB-Pokal final, James’ future in Munich could once again
Should Kovac actually have to leave Bavaria after this season, however, the chances of James staying in Munich should increase.
A disruption in the team’s master plan?
Borussia Dortmund’s signing of Julian Brandt might have had a trickle-down effect on Bayern’s rumored pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz, who would make James expendable.
The fact that Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt will move to Borussia Dortmund will reduce the chances of Kai Havertz transferring to Bavaria this summer. The Bayern bosses will also have to take this into account.
In the end, if James does not want to be in Bavaria then it would appear that bosses will allow him to leave, but the manner of that departure is still open. Will they let him to return to Madrid or will they buy him only to sell to a willing buyer? In the end, James has not given any “real” indication that he is eager to extend his stay in Bavaria, despite periodic generic statements regarding his happiness.
Buckle up, we’re going to have a busy three weeks ahead of us following this saga. With Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Liverpool all rumored to be interested in James at one point or another, things could escalate quickly.