Rodriguez a big gamble for Everton

After the excitment of Everton finally securing the signature of Allan, Blues supporters now wait for final news on the proposed deals for Abdoulate Doucoure and most intriguingly, James Rodriguez.

But is the proposed transfer of the Colombian star a big gamble by Everton and will he prove a success in England?

Like many Evertonians I suspect, my feelings about the prospect of Rodriguez moving to Goodison Park, are a little mixed.

On the one hand he is a fabulous attacking talent who could, if he stays healthy and produces his best, light up the Premier League with that talent.

As we pointed out, he could fit in really well with a new tactical formation and approach by Ancelotti and perform well.

However, if he suffers a recurrence of his past injury problems or fails to settle into life in the English game, it might prove an expensive bit of business.

I say all this because if the stories are true, it seems to me that the Toffees are taking a significant risk signing him straight away on a three-year deal.

To be honest I would have preferred a loan deal with an option to buy or complete the move next summer, as his contract at Real Madrid expires in a year anyway.

That way at least we would have known whether he has properly got over his physical problems and can deal with the pace and demands of football in this country. I suspect Marcel Brands would probably have preferred that option too!

But in the end the Los Blancos didn’t seem willing to agree to that and so inevitably the Blues had to compromise and agree a permanent transfer to get their man.

Talking of physical issues, the Premier League is not as physically tough a league as it was say fifteen or twenty years ago with all the rule changes on tackling and the influence of overseas coaches and players. And English football certainly isn’t anything like as hard and physically uncompromising as it was when I was young back in the eighties in the days of Peter Reid and Graeme Souness!

But it is still a fast and furious league and one where players get very little time on the ball, probably less time than in any other league in Europe.

This is important because Rodriguez has been used to playing in Spain for most of his career in Europe, where the game is not nearly as frenetic. To be fair, he did do well in Germany, at first anyway, when he went to Bayern Munich and that is a league quite similar to England’s.

However, many sides in the Premier League now play a high pressing game and the importance of swift, counter-attacking football, or as it’s now fashionably called ‘transition’, is paramount.

That means you need forwards and wide players with a lot of pace who can exploit the space behind high-pressing teams most effectively.

This is where we come to another potential issue, Rodriguez certainly isn’t the quickest and pace has never been a big part of his game.

So how effective will he be if he is playing say as a wide midfielder in Ancelotti’s 4-4-2, when Everton look to break quickly and capitalise on that space?

There is another issue, and that is Rodriguez likes to play as an advanced attacking midfielder or number 10, as his admirers in his home country point out in an article today.

This position is more difficult to operate in now because of the pace and pressing nature of the game in England and the number of powerful midfielders who close you down so quickly.

So that kind of strolling play-maker is more and more a luxury and that’s partly why someone like Gylfi Sigurdsson, has struggled so much recently.

You can play this position, but perhaps in the role of a much more fluid, versatile type of play-maker like Roberto Firmino at Liverpool.

So there are lots of questions and uncertainties to answer here. Don’t get me wrong, obviously I really hope Rodriguez is a big success if he does come to Everton, but I can’t pretend I’m not a little nervous that this move won’t work out.

Maybe in the end the personal influence, experience and tactical nous of Ancelotti will prove decisive and overcome all these issues.  Let’s hope so of course!