Real Madrid cleverly extended James Rodriguez’s contract at the club before sanctioning a two-year loan spell at German giants Bayern Munich.
The Los Blancos misfit penned a 12-month contract extension, writes Spanish news publication Marca, to his current deal ahead of jetting off to Bavaria to link up with former Real boss Carlo Ancelotti once more at the Bundesliga champions.
Fans may have been wondering why such a ploy was needed, but Real have merely acted to cover their bases ahead of potentially losing James for a smaller fee upon his return to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The 26-year-old would have entered the final 12 months of his contract when his loan spell with Bayern ends following the culmination of the 2018/19 season, and Real were at risk of being unable to negotiate a higher fee for his services as a result.
In a pre-emptive strike, the Spanish champions decided to add an additional year to James’ deal – a contract which will now run until the summer of 2020 – and give them the initiative in any potential transfer discussions with other interested parties upon the playmaker heading back to the Spanish capital.
All of this is unlikely to matter, however, if Bayern opt to invoke James’ €60m (£52.8m) purchase clause that is part of the deal to bring him to Germany at any point during his loan, but Real will have wanted to make the most of any situation in the event of Bayern deciding against making his move a permanent one.
Bayern are also set to pay James a reported €10m (£8.8m) a season – the Colombia international’s salary at Real – for the duration of his stay too.
James had been linked with a variety of top European sides including Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain before his shock switch to Germany on Tuesday.
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