Following an excellent first season at the Santiago Bernabeu, the Colombia international has struggled in 2015-16.
As noted by Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe, Jese is edging ahead of James in the Real pecking order, and the French manager has seemingly decided he can do without the 24-year-old:
Real signed James for a reported £63 million from Monaco in the wake of his brilliant showing at the 2014 World Cup.
In his first season at the Bernabeu, he netted 13 Primera Division goals and provided the same number of assists, an indication he could be a major long-term asset for Real, per WhoScored.com.
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However, his drop in form this season has been dramatic, and he has hardly helped Real as they have attempted to keep pace with Barcelona in the Liga title race—they are effectively out of the running as they are nine points back from the Blaugrana.
James failed to find his rhythm under former boss Rafael Benitez, and things have not improved since the appointment of Zidane in January.
He is undoubtedly a hugely talented player, but his future prospects at Real are not looking good.
If a team like United come in with a decent offer for him in the summer, it looks as though Real are prepared to let him go.
Given his loss of form, there is little possibility of Real recouping all of the £63 million they paid for him, but because of James' relative youth, they would still be able to demand a hefty fee for the talented star.
According to Andrew Dillon in the Sun, Chelsea will demand £80 million for the Belgian star and Real is his "likely" destination.
It would be a big risk for Real to shell out such cash on a player who has yet to score a league goal this season, per WhoScored.
The 25-year-old has been abject this term following his PFA Player of the Year-worthy campaign in 2014-15, when Chelsea won the title. But he did show signs he may be returning to some kind of form in the Blues' FA Cup thrashing of Manchester City on Sunday, per Opta:
3 – Eden Hazard has been directly involved in as many goals today (3) as he had done in his previous 24 apps (all comps) combined. Reboot.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 21, 2016
Hazard would be a decent replacement for James and a potential long-term successor to Cristiano Ronaldo as Real's star man.
With a two-window transfer ban looming, Real will have to make some significant moves in the summer, and it seems plans are afoot for some bold changes in personnel.