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'It would be very nice' - Atletico CEO Gil Marin opens door to James crossing Madrid divide

7:38 AM MYT 26/07/2019
James Rodriguez, Colombia
The Real Madrid midfielder has been strongly linked with a move to Napoli this summer, but the red and white half of Madrid could still have a say

Atletico Madrid CEO Gil Marin has admitted that it “would be very nice” if James Rodriguez were to cross the Madrid divide and join Los Rojiblancos.

The Real Madrid midfielder spent the last two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich, but has now returned to the Santiago Bernabeu after the Bundesliga champions opted not to make the move permanent.

The 28-year-old made 67 appearances for Bayern, scoring 15 goals and recording 20 assists, and has been strongly linked with a move to Napoli, where he would reunite with former Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti.

Atletico could yet have something to say regarding James’ next club however, with Marin telling ESPN (via "I know that many clubs would like him.

“Even talking to a player, he believes that there are qualities that the player could bring and that it is good for us.

“I know that our coach [Diego Simeone] likes him, I know that James does not want to continue in Real Madrid and I know that Real Madrid doesn't want him to continue, but there have to be many circumstances to make it possible.

“It would be very nice, but It depends a lot on the president of Real Madrid."

Atletico have lost star man Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona this summer in a controversial deal worth €120 million (£107m/$134m), and James would go some way to filling the creative void left by the Frenchman. 

They face stiff competition from Napoli for the player’s signature however, with Ancelotti confirming that the Serie A outfit are in discussions regarding a transfer. 

“I’m not aware of a deal with Atletico,” Ancelotti told TV Luna.

“We’re still talking for James, a player that I really like.

“I’m very attached to James, I rate him very highly and he can certainly improve our team.

“He doesn’t need to re-announce himself, he’s a great player. But he’s not the only player we’re openly negotiating for, we’re assessing many players.”

Despite the rumour mill strongly suggesting James will no longer be a Real Madrid player in the immediate future, the long-term injury to Los Blancos winger Marcos Asensio could potentially force Zinedine Zidane into rethinking his transfer plans.