The madness we all call “Silly Season” is nearly upon us again as the January Transfer window opens in just about a week. Once again all the focus is on James Rodriguez and Real Madrid. Today’s tabloid buzz spotted James at the British embassy in his native Colombia acquiring a work permit for England. Which then leads us all to speculate that once again Chelsea, Arsenal (LOL, sure) and Manchester United are vying for his services.

He was rumored to leave Los Blancos during the summer but that never materialized. Once again Rodriguez has been left out of manager Zinadine Zidane’s rotation and all signs point toward a winter exit. Real Madrid are coming off a Club World Cup victory and yet James has not played an integral part. He’s made sixteen appearances this year, with only 9 starts, resulting in two goals and eight assists.

Chelsea recently just sold Oscar to China for an absurd about of money (£60 million), and not that money is really a constraint for Chelsea or United, but the Blues might have an upper hand on disposable cash to spend. The better question is which team has a need for James? And not a need for publicity or to sell shirts but a need on the field.

The Blues are rolling right now, they have a set line-up and are six points clear of Liverpool. Why would the first place team mess with their success? Do you really want to radically alter things after winning 11 straight matches? N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic are mainstays in the central midfielder, even Cesc Fabregas can’t break into the starting line-up except for an occasional spot start. I’m not sure James is the answer, especially in this 3-4-3 formation, as sexy as the signing would be on paper.

For Manchester United, why the hell not? They’re in 6th place after having spent a fortune on midfielder Paul Pogba and convincing striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to come to Old Trafford. You never really know with Jose Mourinho so I think it’s entirely possible United are the front runners. There are a lot of house hold names in the midfield but that doesn’t mean that any combination of the following wouldn’t be sold this January: Juan Mata, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick & Marouane Fellaini.

Arsenal are too cheap to buy anything. Hell they probably won’t spend the extra $1 to upgrade to curly fries at the diner. I don’t see any way in hell where Arsenal commit to a price that you know will be sky high from Real Madrid. Remember he transferred from AS Monaco to Real Madrid for €80 million, becoming the fourth most expensive transfer in history. Madrid is going to want to recoup their costs. Zero chance Arsenal pays the cost especially when they are in need of re-signing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil first.

Odds Prediction:

33% – Manchester United

25% – Chelsea

15% – Paris St. Germain

15% – Return to Real Madrid

11% – Other (Man City, Juventus, Etc.)

0% – Arsenal

TRANSFER RUMORS

JAMES RODRIGUEZ – REAL MADRID TO CHELSEA

MEMPHIS DEPAY – MANCHESTER UNITED TO EVERTON

MORGAN SCHNEIDERLIN – MANCHESTER UNITED TO EVERTON

KASPER SCHMEICHEL – LEICESTER CITY TO LIVERPOOL

GYLFI SIGURDSSON – SWANSEA CITY TO AS ROMA

WILFRIED ZAHA – CRYSTAL PALACE TO TOTTENHAM

VIRGIL VAN DJIK – SOUTHAMPTON TO MAN CITY

BOJAN – STOKE CITY TO VALENCIA

COMPLETED TRANSFERS

None – Transfer Window Opens January 1st (thru Feb 1st)