James Rodriguez: Everton boss Rafael Benitez explains sale of Colombian midfielder

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport
James Rodriguez
James Rodriguez started last season strongly but then became troubled by calf injuries

Everton boss Rafael Benitez says he allowed James Rodriguez to leave the club because of his injury record and to free up funds for further signings.

The Colombia international, 30, spent a year at Goodison Park, having been signed by former boss Carlo Ancelotti.

But with wages of about £200,000 a week and having missed large parts of last season through injury, the midfielder joined Qatari club Al Rayyan this week.

"We have to maximise the resources we have," said Benitez.

"Having a player being available for 50% of games in the Premier League is not something we can manage easily."

Rodriguez started 21 Premier League games last season, scoring six goals.

After his departure, he said it was a "pity" he never played in front of fans at Goodison Park because of the coronavirus pandemic, and added: "I always tried to give my best and I always wanted to win - that is my mentality."

Even though Benitez is without injured forwards Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison for his team's home fixture with Norwich City, the Spaniard said he had to take a longer-term view on Rodriguez's departure.

He also said he had spoken to majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, who indicated money was now available to buy players in January. Benitez previously explained that the club were unable to add to the £1.7m of spending in the summer because they had been "killed" by financial fair play rules.

"It's not easy to find good offers [for Rodriguez] when you want them. You have to manage them and we couldn't find the right ones before," Benitez said.

"I had that conversation [about January transfer funds] yesterday with Mr Moshiri and we are lucky enough to have owners who want to spend money, but we need to be sure we can do it in the right way.

"They are very keen to spend the money and improve the team."

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