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Why James Rodriguez could be a perfect fit for Inter Miami CF | Greg Seltzer

Recent reports have suggested that Inter Miami are hovering around Real Madrid star James Rodriguez, who seems to be surplus to requirements for manager Zinedine Zidane.

David Beckham, the expansion club’s high-profile executive, has reportedly been in contact with Real president Florentino Perez, with whom he maintains a strong relationship from his own Bernabeu days. As you'd expect, any overture from Miami would face fierce competition, with Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United among the clubs already linked with a move for Rodriguez.

The first clear question revolves around whether the Colombia national team attacker, 28, would be willing to leave Europe for MLS while still in his prime. Beyond that, there are other prominent issues to ponder. How would Rodriguez take to the city of Miami, and vice versa? What impact would his capture have for the club, both on and off the field?

We have no way to definitively answer the first question right now, but we'll take an honest crack at answering the others.

Local flavor

From Rodriguez's perspective, he'd have no problem feeling at home in Miami. No American city has a larger population of native Colombians, and more than a quarter million of his compatriots inhabit the entire metropolitan area.

The city has plenty of options where he could find arepas, hallacas and other traditional cuisine. In fact, Rodriguez probably already has a few favorite local spots, as he's vacationed in Miami in years past.

For that reason, he surely understands that joining Inter Miami means he would become an iconic local hero. There would certainly be no shortage of endorsement opportunities to supplement what would surely be an enviable base salary.

All that combined with the chance to once again be "the man" on his team and enjoyment derived from Miami’s lifestyle makes for a fairly compelling allure. But what would his arrival mean to the club?

Significance

For starters, signing Rodriguez on the heels of landing Mexico ace Rodolfo Pizarro would mark Inter Miami as a destination for top players in their prime, especially for those from talent-rich Latin countries.

Plucking Rodriguez away from Real Madrid would obviously cost Inter Miami a pretty penny, but it strikes as a transfer that would pay for itself in time. Furthermore, it would cement Miami as a fierce MLS competitor that’s eager to win, something that their fans will undoubtedly appreciate.

Add it all together, and it becomes apparent that such a capture could be highly attractive to the player, the city and the club.

On the field

Now that we've dispensed with the off-field aspects of this potential transfer chase, let's get to the fun part: imagining how Rodriguez could plug into the Inter Miami side.

Like Pizarro, Rodriguez can operate from anywhere across the attacking midfield line. One wing spot seems earmarked for Young Designated Player Mattias Pellegrini, theoretically leaving one spot available alongside Pizarro. Both are a serious handful out on right wing, but Rodriguez is perhaps a little more troublesome playing directly underneath the striker. At worst, sorting out their field positions looks like a small problem and a very good problem to have, at that.

 

James Rodriguez, left, celebrates a goal scored by Colombia | USA Today Sports

I have little doubt that head coach Diego Alonso and these two star veterans can figure it out rather easily. It also seems more than fair to suggest that Inter Miami's strike capability would rise considerably.

Rodriguez is a major offensive threat from the run of play, especially on the break, and would immediately be among the top MLS free-kick specialists. He's speedy and technical on the ball, with excellent vision, and also works his tail off when his team needs to regain possession. When it comes time for Inter Miami to fire up the transition game, the presence of Rodriguez would also draw some attention away from potential targets for long diagonal master Wil Trapp.

By extension, bringing Rodriguez aboard would automatically strengthen Inter Miami's substitution bench. With him in the line-up, midfielders such as Jay Chapman, Lewis Morgan and Lee Nguyen would spend more time hopping off the pine to run at tiring defenders.

Long story short, there’s little downside with the idea of Miami adding Rodriguez to their squad. The only real questions center around how badly Beckham and Co. want to pursue him, and whether or not they can actually pull the transfer off. If they're able to land him, smart money says it'd be one of the biggest coups in league history.

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