The London club are set to bank £62 million from the sale of Oscar to Shanghai SIPG of the Chinese Super League – coincidentally managed by former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur boss, Andres Villas-Boas – and will look to reinvest the money from this sale in strengthening their midfield with the acquisition of James Rodriguez.
According to the Daily Mirror, Conte is eyeing up a deal for the Colombian ace in the soon to be open winter transfer window after failing to close a deal in the summer.
The rekindled interest is due to Rodriguez’s apparent bit-part role at the Spanish capital, with the forward having started only 8 La Liga games this season and is apparently open to switching to the English shores for a taste of the Premier League. The Guardian had also reported in August that the Rodriguez family was particularly keen on a move to England – to the extent that they had contacted the press to share this desire with them.
Rodriguez had moved to the Bernabeu in 2014 in a £75 million deal from Monaco after having had a stellar 2014 World Cup, where he won the Golden Boot and drew immense praise for his mature performances for Colombia.
After showing signs of initial promise under both Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez, he seems to have fallen out of favour under current manager Zinedine Zidane, but still remains a highly-rated talent with a lot of potential on offer.
But a deal may not be entirely straightforward in materialising, with talisman Gareth Bale ruled out for four months with an ankle injury. His absence has already left the Real squad looking thin in like-for-like replacements and they will not be in any hurry to sell him in the January transfer window.
Any sale would also have the Los Blancos looking to recoup most of the £75 million they’d initially paid for him.
However, his arrival would give Conte another creative midfield option and allow for more rotation, with the Chelsea boss having made the fewest changes to his starting 11 in the Premier League this season.
If Rodriguez does end up finalising a move to Stamford Bridge for that sum, he would be the west-Londoners’ all-time record purchase; easily eclipsing the £50 million they paid Liverpool for the transfer of Fernando Torres.Published 18 Dec 2016, 12:42 IST