By Noel Whelan

27th Jan, 2020 | 6:24pm

'He can be unreal'- Exclusive: Whelan reacts as Everton set reported sights on signing superstar

Noel Whelan has claimed that Everton can pull off an “unreal” deal if they land Real Madrid superstar James Rodriguez. 

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds United forward suggested that the Colombian playmaker had failed to live up to his full potential in recent times, but that Carlo Ancelotti could be the manager to help him rekindle his best form.

Spanish outlet AS reported over the weekend that the Toffees are keen on bringing the 28-year-old to the Premier League, although they could face stiff competition from Arsenal for his signature.

It is understood that Real currently value the player at around £34 million, although a lack of readily available funds could lead to a loan-to-buy deal for either side.

When asked if bringing in Rodriguez would carry any risk, Whelan told Football Insider: “I think it’s always a gamble, but like I say, when you’ve got certain managers and somebody with the reputation of Ancelotti, he commands a lot of respect. 

“If somebody’s going to get the best out of a player it’s going to be a manager like that. He obviously knows he’s got massive potential, everybody knows that. He’s never really hit the heights of his potential.

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“It’s a risk, but it’s a risk worth taking for somebody with that amount of ability.

“He can be unreal, so we know that potential’s there, but you’re then coming to the hardest league in the world. You have to get the potential out of him if he’s going to be a superstar for Everton.”

The South American still has 18 months left to run on his contract in the Spanish capital, but has struggled to make an impact this season, and has registered just one goal in 11 games in all competitions.

Ancelotti has previously worked with Rodriguez during spells with Real and Germans giants Bayern Munich.

In other Everton news, ‘Rattled’ – Danny Mills tears into ‘Emotional’ Toffees big name.