West James? Is Real Madrid’s £61m man ready to join West Ham

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Having moved to the Olympic Stadium, secured European football and brought in a host of new faces, the coming season looks extremely bright for fans of West Ham United. But the Irons’ biggest coup of all could be still to come, with reports linking them with the signing of Real Madrid star James Rodriguez.

The 25-year-old joined Los Blancos from Monaco in 2014, and enjoyed an excellent first season, scoring 17 times and providing a mammoth 18 assists as Real pushed eventual champions Barcelona all the way in La Liga.

However, the attacking midfielder saw his first-team opportunities begin to dry up as last season wore on, ending with a spot on the bench for the entire Champions League final and – reportedly – a wantaway Rodriguez.

Hammers fans will take little convincing that he’d be a world-class addition to a squad already rich in midfield quality. And with Europa League football around the corner, the experience of a former winner – with Porto in 2011 – could make Rodriguez the final piece in the Hammers’ jigsaw.

The money needed would previously have been a stumbling block, with Transfermarkt.co.uk valuing the Colombian at a hefty £59.5m.

However with the Hammers already having a healthy cash reserve and the sale of Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho mooted – they could well find themselves with enough money to bring a genuine Galactico to their swish Olympic Stadium home.

West Ham are 8/1 to finish in the Premier League’s top four this season – though expect those odds to fall dramatically if they can secure a transfer coup which outstrips even the Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano arrivals.

Slaven Bilic’s charges begin the season with a trip to Stamford Bridge, where they’re 5/1 to inflict defeat on Chelsea.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.