There was a degree of confusion around the deal when it went through, with no fee initially reported and then word from Argentine side Banfield, a club with a stake in any profit made from James’ sale, claimed that the deal was a free transfer.
It’s turned out to be true. Los Blancos president Florentino Perez was so keen on trimming the fat in the club’s wage bill that he was willing to part with the high-salary South American, who was one of the outstanding players at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, for nothing.
“It was one of the most difficult and weirdest transfer windows ever,” Brands said in comments carried by the Liverpool Echo. “We signed six new players, one on a free – James Rodriguez.”
James joined several other players, including Sergio Reguilon and Gareth Bale, to leave the club during the summer (the latter on loan), with Madrid tightening their belt amidst the financial fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic.