Everton are currently working on a contract extension for Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez in order to retain him after a promising first season.
Rodriguez, who came to Goodison Park on a free transfer from Real Madrid, has shown no signs of being unfit and has been a good signing.
According to Marca, the aim is to sign Rodriguez to a new one-year contract, with manager Carlo Ancelotti believing that the Colombian is important to Everton’s Champions League qualification.
The 29-year-old is one of a select group of players about to reach the final year of their current deal.
Others who will be out of contract in 2022 include Gylfi Sigurdsson, Bernard, Seamus Coleman, Jonjoe Kenny, Fabian Delph, and Cenk Tosun.
Rodriguez has been hampered by injuries this season, but he has nevertheless managed six goals and nine assists in 25 appearances.
Ancelotti’s ‘great obsession’ is to secure Champions League football, and although they have a slim chance of finishing in the top four this season – they are six points behind Chelsea in fourth place despite having played one game less – it is thought that holding Rodriguez is crucial for potential European chances.
Rodriguez is thought to be looking for guarantees from Ancelotti that Everton will put together a good enough team around him to challenge their European rivals.
The Colombian credited Ancelotti with persuading him to join Everton after he had previously shown interest in joining Atletico Madrid.
‘I’m with a manager who knows exactly what I’m like. I get on fantastically well with him, just like a father and son.’ Rodriguez told Everton’s website last month.
‘Many of my hopes and dreams have come to fruition, but when you fulfil your dreams, you want to achieve even more, so here we are, now, taking things step by step.
‘Firstly, we need to be fighting it out around the top of the league. The past two games haven’t been as good as we would have liked but that’s the Premier League.’