Could James Rodriguez be David Beckham’s David Beckham?
The wantaway Real Madrid star is being pursued by Inter Miami, according to Goal.com, as the MLS outfit looks to put its stamp on the league. The report says the club is having “informal talks” with Rodriguez’s people and there is “no firm offer on the table.”
While there’s certainly no comparison to the eyebrows raised around the world when the LA Galaxy scored Becks from Real Madrid in 2007, there are similarities to what the move would signal for Beckham’s club and MLS as a whole.
Rodriguez only has one year left on his contract, but it would be stunning if Real sold him for less than the MLS incoming transfer record. That’s Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez’s approximately $16 million move for River Plate to Atlanta United.
Inter Miami already has the third-biggest transfer buy in MLS history according to Transfermarkt.com, scooping up Rodolfo Pizarro in February.
Beckham also remains the league’s most notable import, arriving on a free transfer from Real in 2007.
Rodriguez turns 29 in July and remains a star for Colombia, where he owns 76 caps and 22 goals with Los Cafeteros, but his career has been uneven since the 2014 World Cup propelled him from Monaco to Real Madrid.
He’s won two Champions League titles, two Bundesliga crowns, and a La Liga between Real and Bayern Munich.
And the numbers are actually quite decent. Rodriguez has 52 goals and 62 assists in 191 career appearances with his last two clubs. That’s seen him linked with Everton and Napoli over the past year, with Atletico Madrid and Arsenal also mentioned in reports.
He’s on the down side of his prime, but there’s almost zero chance he wouldn’t instantly become one of if not the top attacker in the league. Carlos Vela’s numbers at Real Sociedad are comparable to Rodriguez, and the Colombian has not put a ton of wear on his tires this season (under 700 total minutes at Real).
Bringing Rodriguez to MLS would bring both a gate draw and production to Inter Miami, with eyes already on the club due to Beckham’s megawatt celebrity.
The question isn’t whether Beckham would be willing to spend what it takes to get Rodriguez, or whether Real boss Florentino Perez would help out his former charge. It’s about Rodriguez’s hopes for his future. Coming to MLS won’t doom his national team chances, but would signal the next step in his career. Very few players come to MLS from top European leagues and head back, though Beckham is one.
The lure of being closer to home is nice, and Rodriguez has made plenty of money at Real. It wouldn’t be shocking if Beckham lured Rodriguez here, but it would be a major coup for the club and the league. Let’s hope it happens.