How James Rodriguez has become the Bundesliga's bargain superstar

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The media, coaches and fans are all raving about the Colombia international, who has Carlo Ancelotti to thank for bringing him to Germany

Right-footed control of the ball, a small touch with his left-foot and then a perfectly-timed chipped pass into space. It was the 84th minute of the Bundesliga clash between Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen as James Rodriguez had his big moment and set up Thomas Muller's goal to make it 4-2 with technical perfection.

It was a scene symbolic of the development of the man who had come to Munich in the summer at the request of the former coach Carlo Ancelotti. The Colombian has blossomed into one of the best performers at Bayern. But one thing is clear: Bayern Munich should sincerely thank Ancelotti for making the transfer happen.

Without the Italian, James would not be playing for Bayern today. This is illustrated by the skeptical words that CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and President Uli Hoeness chose shortly after the announcement of his arrival.

"The signing of James Rodriguez was the great desire of our coach," Rummenigge had announced at the time. 

"We rely totally on Carlo Ancelotti as he knows James much better in contrast to us. James was the desired player of Carlo Ancelotti and now he got him," Hoeness added later. Back then, the duo still had their doubts about whether James would help the team in Munich. These doubts have long since been dispelled.

In the first two games since the winter break, James has been directly involved in four goals. Against Leverkusen, he assisted the first goal for Franck Ribery, then just before the end netted an incredible free-kick. 

Sven Bender had fouled the Colombian outside the area before the goal, and was full of praise afterwards, saying "You can see he’s in a class of his own and that’s obviously outstanding."

Last Sunday against Bremen, James not only assisted Muller's goal, but also Robert Lewandowski's first goal from a corner. "He has developed very well at Bayern. It's not just impulse he brings to us, he has creativity too. He is always ready to run and fight for the team," manager Jupp Heynckes said during the post-match press conference.

Assistant coach Peter Hermann told Goal after the win over Werder Bremen: "He has integrated great. He is a very good player. Set-pieces are his speciality." 

Joshua Kimmich also enthused about his ability from free-kicks and corners "His deliveries are really good. He is great around the danger zone. He has the ability to kick the ball exactly to where he wants it to go."

Thomas Muller Bayern Munich

At first there were concerns in Munich whether the transfer of James actually made sense and how he could play in the same XI as Muller. However, when the two play alongside each other, they complement each other splendidly. "It works because we are different types of player and not copies of each other," Muller told Goal

"James is more a playmaker, who has many touches of the ball, who distributes the balls well and who has a good eye for the free space. I was always a players who is looking for exactly this space and who is searching the direct way to the goal. That's why we understand well since he came here."

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The statistics show how important James has already become for Bayern. He has particularly impressed in big games. He scored against Leipzig, provided a goal and assist away to Schalke, set up two goals in the clash with Dortmund, as well as scoring one and creating another in Leverkusen. In the Champions League tie with PSG, the 26-year-old was again impressive, being a threat from set-pieces and out wide, and provided an assist.

Spiegel and Football Leaks revealed the Bavarians paid €13 million for the two year loan, which is proving very cost effective for the return he has brought to Munich. Bayern can sign James in summer 2019 for €42m as part of the deal.

Although the total transfer would cost the Bundesliga leaders €55m, in the current transfer climate, that seems a bargain in comparison to some of the gigantic sums being spent on lesser players. A bargain that Bayern Munich need to thank Ancelotti for.

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