James Everton future still in doubt as winger rumours continue

There is still no clear certainty over the Everton future of James Rodriguez as rumours about new wingers continues in the media.

The Colombian attacker has been on social media commenting on his future and got a strong response from most Everton supporters.

The overwhelming view expressed was that James should stay at Goodison Park, at least for another year and give Blues fans the chance to see him in the flesh.

For his part the ex Real Madrid and Bayern Munich star remains coy about where he will be playing when the new Premier League season kicks off.

Ever since his mentor Carlo Ancelotti dramatically walked out of the club at the beginning of June, there’s been a constant question as to whether Rodriguez will stay on Merseyside.

Last season in truth he had a mixed campaign. At the start of the season he was in electric form orchastrating the Toffees superb attacking football.

He was pulling the strings and creating lots of chances in particular for Dominic Calvert-Lewin who had his best goalscoring spell in a Everton shirt during that first month or so.

Then came the first international break and a series of injuries blunted Rodriguez’s effectiveness and he was far less influential as the Blues struggled to replicate that early-season form.

One of the problems was that James doesn’t fit easily into a tactical formation. Ancelotti favoured a 4-3-3 at the start of 2020-21 campaign and the Colombian was playing as a right-sided attacker in that system.  However, he did often tend to drift inside and end up playing like a number ten, which is his natural position.

This was fine when Seamus Coleman was fit and healthy and playing well at right-back. But once he too started getting injured and missing matches as well, the team suffered and really never recovered from that.

So, the question is can he fit into a modern football side usually based on a pretty rigid, heavily drilled tactical system? This is especially the case with a defensive-minded coach like his new manager Rafa Benitez.

The new Toffees boss has already signed two wide attacking players and there are strong rumours flying around the club want to bring in another one. So if they did sign another such player where would that leave the veteran Colombian?

In addition of course, he has had a difficult past relationship with Benitez when the Spaniard took over Los Blancos and that put further doubt into whether he would be willing to stay once Benitez became Everton manager.

Ideally I would like to see James stay for at least another season. But I’m not sure he’s going to play that much under Benitez and given his huge problems with injury, which mean he tends to miss about a third of the season at least, it’s very difficult to build a team around him anyway.

It seems clear that if the Blues get a decent offer for him (perhaps something like £10-15 million) then they will sell. So his future is still very uncertain, but if I was a betting man I would say on balance it’s likely he will still be exiting Goodison Park this summer.