Discerning Manchester United fans won’t have been overly impressed to find their club linked with another unloved Real Madrid player when leafing through the morning gossip columns on Friday morning.
James Rodriguez has never quite earned the adoration he craves from successive managers and Madridistas alike since arriving in the Spanish capital in the summer of 2014, just before a certain Angel Di Maria headed for the exit door.
The arrival of the younger man appeared to shove Di Maria towards Old Trafford and the rest is history where United and their most expensive flop are concerned.
Back then when Brazil 2014 was fresh in the memory, James was the flavour of world football, having top scored at the tournament whilst pulled the strings for Colombia until their quarter-final exit.
His arrival at Real Madrid was hailed and James performed admirably enough in his first season under then Los Merengues boss Carlo Ancelotti, scoring 17 times in 46 appearances from various positions in the midfield and attack.
However, his involvement and goals tally diminished last season under Rafa Benitez and Zinedine Zidane. And now the return to the club of Alvaro Morata and the emergence of youngsters such as Marco Asensio have pushed the attacker further to the peripheries.
The 25-year-old is yet to begin any of Real’s first five matches of the season.
United fans should be wary that history does not repeat. James’ exploits at the World Cup showed he has genuine quality to offer, yet, if he was that good on a consistent basis then Real would have carved a spot for him in his best position of 10.
They never have. Although modern systems shine unfavourably on the classic withdrawn striker types, James would be jumping straight out of the frying pan and into the inferno, should Jose Mourinho actually go in for the Colombian.
In Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, there are three world-class options who would all be utilised best in his preferred position.
If he was vying for one of the two prongs of the attack instead, that list multiplies considerably.
This interest could easily be nothing more than cheap paper talk, which should be welcome news for understandably bemused Red Devils still having night sweats over Di Maria’s stay.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.