Atletico Madrid Los Blancos didn’t want to strengthen a rival
It was one of the transfer stories of the summer, yet James Rodriguez‘s potential move to Atletico Madrid from Real Madrid was brought to a severe halt after Los Blancos‘ 7-3 derby defeat to Los Rojiblancos in New Jersey.
James‘ switch to Atletico was a transfer that was very close to completion and suited all parties, as Real Madrid were moving on a player that Zinedine Zidane didn’t fully trust or have a use for, whilst Diego Simeone was adding a proven attacking commodity that would ensure Joao Felix‘s debut season in the Spanish capital wasn’t made more difficult by having to single-handedly replace Antoine Griezmann.
Yet, what happened in New Jersey would change the course of the deal, with Joao Felix inspiring Atletico to a dramatic 7-3 victory over their local rivals in a friendly match, and in truth it could have been a far bigger margin of victory for Simeone‘s charges.
The result, whilst unimportant in terms of competition, alarmed Florentino Perez and he made the decision that he couldn’t then strengthen his rivals even further by allowing them to sign James. It is worth remembering that this is a player who was voted as Player of the Tournament at the 2014 World Cup.
So, Florentino cancelled the deal that had been agreed with Miguel Angel Gil Marin and Enrique Cerezo, and James‘ future was once again up in the air.
Simeone was left with his preliminary plan blown to pieces and Los Colchoneros were forced to scramble to sign an alternative option, which proved to be Valencia‘s Rodrigo Moreno.
However, a failure to complete a deal with AC Milan which would have seen Angel Correa move to Italy meant that Atletico couldn’t afford to sign Rodrigo and they ended up with nobody to lessen the burden on Joao Felix‘s shoulders in a creative sense.
There were suggestions that this was a deal that could be revisited in the summer of 2020, when the reaction from Real Madrid supporters wouldn’t be so negative, yet the changing face of world sport has put paid to that.
The Colombian’s salary and the transfer fee that Los Blancos would demand, despite James being about to enter the last year of his contract, is far out of Atletico Madrid‘s reach in the post-pandemic reality that is coming.
Furthermore, the current situation has Atletico outside of the Champions League qualification places, and if they fail to earn the financial bounty that comes with qualification, the Spanish club will be forced to look at cheaper options.