According to AS, James Rodriguez is close to completing a deal that will see him join Al Rayyan on a three-year contract.
Rafa Benitez had notified the 30-year-old player that he was not on his playing-squad plans for this campaign, and the club allowed him to travel to Doha to negotiate a deal with the Qatari club.
Rodriguez was ruled out of Saturday’s match against Aston Villa, with the Toffees’ boss citing muscle issues as the reason for his absence.
However, the Colombian international was aware of Al Rayyan’s intentions and didn’t want to risk injuring himself by playing alongside his Everton colleagues.
Rodriguez’s departure from the United Kingdom for negotiations in Asia indicates that this is a serious matter, and his agent, Jorge Mendes, would have taken the necessary preparations to guarantee that a deal does not slip through.
That does not appear to be the case, and if all goes according to plan, an announcement could be made this week.
Benitez and Rodriguez had a strained relationship at Real Madrid, and conditions were unlikely to improve at Goodison Park.
It’s possible for things to go wrong until he signs the dotted lines and is introduced as an Al Rayyan player, but Everton is praying nothing does.