MUNICH • Bayern Munich have beaten the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Inter Milan to the signature of James Rodriguez, who moved from Real Madrid on a two-year loan deal yesterday.
The Colombian forward will join up with the Bayern squad immediately and travel with his new team-mates on their 12-day pre-season tour to China and Singapore.
Rodriguez was desperate to find a club where he could get more playing minutes after he struggled to nail down a regular starting place at the Bernabeu and was dropped from Real's Champions League final squad.
The 25-year-old will now be reunited with manager Carlo Ancelotti, under whom he had his most productive season at Real in 2014-15.
"We are very happy to have completed this transfer," Bayern executive board chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a statement.
"Signing James Rodriguez was the big wish of our coach Carlo after they worked successfully together in Madrid.
"James is a very versatile player. He scores a lot of goals himself and is also able to set up goals and sets overall high standards.
"We have, without question, heightened the quality of the squad with this transfer."
The big question is whether the player, who had an outstanding 2014 World Cup, will be able to revitalise his career at the Bavarian club who have a plethora of classy players in attacking midfield.
Rodriguez can play out on the left and through the centre but he may find it difficult to gain an entry into the starting XI.
Central midfielders Sebastian Rudy and Corentin Tolisso have also joined Bayern this summer from Hoffenheim and Lyon respectively and will battle for positions with the likes of Arturo Vidal, Thiago and Renato Sanches.
Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, though ageing, are the regular wingers, while Thomas Muller will be the attacking force.
Then there are youngsters Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman, who are waiting in the wings.
Rodriguez - who won the Champions League twice during his time in Spain - will indeed have to show the form he displayed at the Brazil World Cup, where he scored six goals and helped Colombia reach the quarter-finals.
Only then will he be likely to get a regular place in Ancelotti's line-up.
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE