football Sports News Transfer News


Qatari club Al Rayyan have confirmed the signing of James Rodriguez from Everton.

The Toffees say the Colombian has left for an undisclosed fee, having joined on a free transfer last season and with just one year left on his deal.

He leaves almost exactly a year since he joined Everton to great fanfare and much excitement.

The playmaker sparkled in his early performances, scoring three goals in his first five appearances, the kind of Rolls-Royce player Evertonians have been starved of for years.

But sadly those performances tailed off as time went on, with a series of niggling injuries meaning he was frequently absent from the side.

He made 26 appearances during the 2020-21 season, scoring six goals, but Evertonians were hopeful for more with a full pre-season behind him.

Sadly his fate was sealed the moment Carlo Ancelotti left for Real Madrid. James openly admitted he only joined Everton because of the Italian, so his departure made an exit almost inevitable.

Rafa Benitez’s appointment as Ancelotti’s successor further pushed him towards the exit door, with the Spaniard having endured a difficult relationship with James during their time at Real Madrid.

But with a reported wage of £200,000 a week there were predictably few takers in a market still reeling from the financial devastation of Covid.

James quickly became a huge drain on resources and an awkward topic of conversation in press conferences, with Benitez blaming Covid isolation then lack of fitness for his exclusion from the first team so far this season.

Moves to Portugal and Turkey collapsed before the August transfer deadline, raising the prospect of James staying here until at least January. But the Qatar window was still open – and he is now finally on his way.

The overriding feeling for me is one of huge disappointment. James is a genuine world-class talent who would ordinarily come nowhere near our club. His fitness record plays a part in that of course, but Ancelotti’s willingness to indulge him made it look a risk worth taking.

Sadly it was a fragile relationship that collapsed as soon as Ancelotti left. James then suddenly became a financial burden at a time where the club was scrambling to keep in line with profit and sustainability rules.

With Benitez wanting to build a team prepared to scrap for every point, James quickly became a luxury we didn’t need or could afford.

The Colombian didn’t help himself at times either, saying he didn’t even know who Everton were playing before last month’s trip to Leeds was revealing.

We don’t know the exact details and likely never will, but it is clear a move away is the best for all concerned.

The cruel irony is that James departs without having ever played in front of a Goodison crowd.

football Slides Sports News


Out-of-favour Everton playmaker James Rodriguez has travelled to Qatar to discuss a move to the Middle East.

The PA news agency understands the Colombia international is to have talks with Al-Rayyan – managed by the former France player and coach Laurent Blanc – with the transfer window in the region still open until the end of the month.

Rodriguez was told by new manager Rafael Benitez he was not in his plans after taking over from Carlo Ancelotti, who brought in the South American having worked with him at Real Madrid.

Summer moves to Porto and Turkish side Basaksehir failed to materialise and Benitez admitted a couple of weeks ago it would be difficult to now offload the club’s highest earner, on a reported £200,000 a week.

However, the one escape route he suggested now appears to be an option after he said on September 10, “It was not easy, because he was available in the transfer window. Now that we have just the Middle East window open, it’s not easy.”

Rodriguez has yet to feature in a matchday squad for Everton after Benitez said he was behind the other players in terms of match fitness.

football Slides Sports News

James Rodriguez closing in on Everton exit

Everton playmaker James Rodriguez is reportedly in talks with a club in Qatar ahead of a proposed transfer this month.

Since the departure of Carlo Ancelotti and the appointment of Rafael Benitez, the Colombia international has been linked with a move away from Goodison Park.

According to BBC Sport, Rodriguez has flown to the Middle East to negotiate a permanent move to a club in Qatar, where their transfer window is open until September 30.

Despite only joining Everton last summer, the Toffees are prepared to let the 30-year-old leave as they are keen to remove his £200,000-a-week salary off their wage bill.

Rodriguez, who was linked with a return to Porto over the summer, is yet to feature under Benitez this season and has seemingly played his final game for the club.

The former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich midfielder has made 26 appearances across all competitions for Everton, scoring six goals and providing nine assists.

football Slides Sports News


JAMES RODRIGUEZ IS unavailable for Everton’s Premier League opener against Southampton on Saturday as uncertainty continues to surround the Colombia playmaker’s future.

While forwards Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are set to be involved in the contest at Goodison Park, Rodriguez is among five Everton players currently isolating.

Rafael Benitez, preparing for his first competitive match as Toffees boss after succeeding Carlo Ancelotti in June, was asked at his pre-match press conference on Friday if Rodriguez was part of his plans or if he would be allowed to leave.

And he said: “I have had my conversation with him at the beginning, and then he knows my idea – but now he is not available, so it is not an issue for tomorrow.

“We will discuss every single player with them, with their agents and then try to find the best solution for us, for the club, and also for the players.

“Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin are available, but we have some players that are in isolation, and then we have to manage that.”

Richarlison only returned to training with Everton on Wednesday after winning Olympic gold with Brazil in Tokyo, while England striker Calvert-Lewin had missed last weekend’s friendly against Manchester United due to a knock.

With coronavirus restrictions having eased, Goodison Park is set to be full tomorrow for the first time since March 2020.

When Benitez was asked if he could understand fans wanting to see Rodriguez, who joined the club in September last year, in the flesh if possible, he said: “I understand that the fans want to see the best players possible on the pitch to win the game.

The arrival at Everton of Benitez – only the second man to manage both Merseyside clubs and the first in over a century – was met with some negativity among the Toffees fanbase.

Benitez is confident that Everton supporters attending Saturday’s game who still feel unsure about his appointment will get behind the team.

“I think they have seen during these weeks what we can try to do, and the point is that after 17 months I think they will be desperate to see the team on the pitch, to cheer the players, to support the team,” he said.

“I think they are quite clever and they know the main thing for us is to be sure we are strong at home. They can be a major part of our success, and I’m sure they will be supporting the team in the way they did all the time.”

Everton have so far brought in Demarai Gray, Andros Townsend and Asmir Begovic as new signings this summer.

Regarding potential further recruitment before the transfer window closes, Benitez said: “I’m sure that if you asked, the majority of the managers want to improve, want to strengthen their squad.

“It still is early, we have to wait a little bit until the end of the transfer window. But I’m happy with the way the players are training, the way we are working, and hopefully we can replicate that on the pitch.”

football Sports News


Everton playmaker James Rodriguez’s moment of quality was cancelled out by an error from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford which allowed Leicester to leave Goodison Park with a 1-1 draw.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side had soaked up a huge amount of pressure following the Colombia international’s brilliant 30th-minute opener but a defence which had conceded only three goals in six matches were just about hanging on.

However, they were undone when the England number one, watched by Gareth Southgate, failed to keep out Youri Tielemans’ low shot.

Pickford may argue he saw the ball late as it came through a crowd of players but he got both hands to it but only pushed it in via a post.

It was the least Leicester deserved after the interval in particular as the hosts struggled to get out of their own half, dropping deeper and inviting pressure on themselves.

Ancelotti’s flexible formation had begun the game switching from 4-2-3-1 in possession to 4-4-2 without the ball but for much of the second half they resorted to a back-five in order to cope with the incessant waves of attacks.

The sight of Rodriguez, whose class on the ball had produced a superb opener with a rapier-like shot off the post, launching himself into the air to block a James Maddison cross highlighted just how much pressure Everton were under.

Ancelotti had said the next four days, with Newcastle to come at home this weekend, would have a huge bearing on the rest of their season in terms of whether they can challenge for the top four.

On this evidence they will have to be more progressive – they finished the match with just 35 per cent possession – if they are to fulfil their manager’s Champions League dream even with two matches in hand over most of their rivals.

Leicester, however, remain in the mix as they maintained third place but they will be frustrated they could not consolidate their position.

Even without the injured Jamie Vardy their pressing game had put the home side on the back foot from the start but they failed to create a genuine chance despite Harvey Barnes causing problems cutting in from the left.

It was something of a surprise to see Everton take the lead in those circumstances but there was little surprise in the goalscorer.

Andre Gomes’ raking crossfield diagonal was touched into the path of Rodriguez by Lucas Digne, playing further forward than normal on the left, and the Colombian’s left-footed shot was blocked by Wesley Fofana.

The Leicester defender could not keep control and allowed it to run back to the former Real Madrid playmaker who, with the Foxes’ defence slow to close him down, curled in his first goal since October off the upright.

It was his 19th career goal from outside the penalty area in Europe’s top five leagues but the first with his right foot.

The loss of Wilfred Ndidi just before half-time, replaced by Nampalys Mendy, interrupted Leicester’s rhythm but they quickly recovered it after the break.

A clever move from a short corner saw Barnes find space in the penalty area and his shot was parried by Pickford, who was rested for the weekend’s FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday, with James Justin placing the follow-up wide from the edge of the area.

Pressure continued to build and it was Pickford who finally cracked when he failed to deal with Tielemans’ low shot through a forest of legs.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s one big chance, having been starved of service, came in the 90th minute but he headed Digne’s cross wide.