Chelsea face a major problem in their efforts to sign James Rodriguez as Real Madrid remain reluctant to sell the Colombian in the January transfer window, according to reports in Spain.
Marca claim that Antonio Conte has retained his interest in Rodriguez since his time as manager of Juventus and views the midfielder as the best replacement for Oscar, who is on the verge of joining the Chinese Super League.
But it’s reported that Madrid are so far unwilling to negotiate with Chelsea over a deal for the 25-year-old, who cost the club £63 million just over two years ago, and would rather talks take place at the end of the campaign.
Rodriguez also has a €500m (£421m) release clause, while Madrid will not settle for anything less than the transfer fee they paid Monaco after the World Cup in 2014.
A glimmer of hope for Chelsea is that Madrid’s hierarchy are wary of Rodriguez’s unhappiness, which could create avoidable tension in Zinedine Zidane’s dressing room.
Following Rodriguez’s claim that he was considering offers to leave in January, the Colombian was criticised by Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.
‘It’s not a day for personal issues,’ the defender said after Madrid’s victory in the Club World Cup.