James Rodriguez is staying at Bayern Munich until the end of the season “at least,” sources close to the player have told ESPN FC, with a decision to be made about the future of the reported Napoli and Arsenal target.
James has six months left on a two-year loan from Real Madrid, although the 27-year-old has not always been a regular starter since Niko Kovac took over as Bayern coach last summer.
This led to speculation in the British and Italian press that clubs including Arsenal and Napoli were looking to take advantage of the situation and offer a short term exit as soon as January.
However, sources in James’ camp have confirmed to ESPN FC that he will stay at Bayern for the remainder of his loan deal, with the possibility he would remain in Bavaria for 2019-20 and beyond.
The summer 2017 agreement between Madrid and Bayern includes an option for the Bundesliga giants to make the deal permanent in July 2019, if they pay a reported €42 million to add to the €13m loan fee.
Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti had a positive relationship with James when they worked together at both Madrid and Bayern — especially during the 2014-15 season when the former Porto and Monaco playmaker contributed 13 goals and 13 assists in 29 La Liga games.
Meanwhile, Madrid centre-forward Karim Benzema is set to play in Saturday’s La Liga game at home to Sevilla with a protective covering on his hand.
Benzema, 31, fractured a little finger during last weekend’s 2-1 La Liga defeat at Real Betis and was unable to play on after suffering the problem just before half time.
Sources close to the player have told ESPN FC an operation to deal with the problem is being considered, however due to injuries elsewhere in the squad Benzema is happy to play through the pain to contribute to the cause.
“Karim has an injury in his little finger,” Solari said. “We don’t see it as a problem for him to play football, neither this weekend, nor in the future. He has trained well, he is feeling good, and we are happy to have him with us again.
“He is our reference point in attack, and having a great year on a personal level. He is a very generous player, with his football, and his commitment. And we are very happy to have him with us this weekend and in future.”
“Madrid’s great good fortune is that they have the best two goalkeepers in the world,” he said.
Madrid go into the weekend fourth in La Liga, below Sevilla in third, and 10 points off leaders Barcelona.