Chelsea target Edinson Cavani has reacted negatively to comments from Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis suggesting that he will have to decide his future by July 20. Along with Manchester City and Real Madrid, Chelsea are long-terms admirers of Cavani, but have been deterred by the €63 million (£53.5m) buyout clause that Napoli insist be met if the Uruguay international is to depart.
That clause expires on August 10, meaning that unless Cavani tries to force through a move, any deal will have to be wrapped up by that date. However, De Laurentiis has set an earlier deadline for last season’s top scorer in Serie A to make up his mind.
"Will I let Cavani go before August 10? I trust in the man, then if he doesn’t want to it’ll be a joke on me,” he said, according to ESPN. "However, I believe he is a real man and will therefore remain at Napoli. If he does decide to go, it will in any case be after the Confederations Cup. We will know everything by July 20. If not, I'll smack him!" Cavani, though, has not seen the funny side of the comments and is keen to have an in-person meeting when he returns from Brazil. “Those statements were strong and I didn’t really like them very much,” he explained. "Now I want to speak with the president face-to-face, as I have done on numerous occasions in the past."
While any deal for Cavani appears someway off, Chelsea are thought to be close to signing Vitesse Arnhem midfielder Marco van Ginkel. The Daily Mail reports that Jose Mourinho that the 20-year-old has been given assurances over his first-team prospects at Stamford Bridge and that a £9 million transfer could now be imminent. Van Ginkel has won one cap for the Netherlands and also appeared for his country at the recent European Under-21 Championship.
The Blues are also believed to still hold an interest in Brazil midfielder Paulinho. The Brazil international was strongly linked with a move to both Chelsea and Inter Milan in January, but in recent days Tottenham have had a £17 million offer accepted. Yet, the Guardian reports that Chelsea could still compete for his signature. And the 24-year-old has explained that he will take his time before deciding on his future.
“There is an official offer from Tottenham to Corinthians," he said. "But, as I did when there was an Inter Milan offer, I'll sit and decide with my family before I make any decision. I will only do it after the Confederations Cup because it's hard to deal with all these things."
Elsewhere, highly rated Saint-Etienne central defender Kurt Zouma has revealed that he is flattered by reports of interest from Chelsea. The 18-year-old, who is currently representing France at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup has previously been linked with Manchester United and Anzhi Makhachkala.
"If you hear of interest from Chelsea and a great manager such as Jose Mourinho, you take notice," he said, according to Sky Sports. "It makes you happy, and it means you are on the right way to the top. I am relaxed about all the fuss about me being linked with big clubs, at the moment my focus is on the Under-20 World Cup. We have to try to win that with our generation of good young players."
Milan and Bayern Munich are also said to be monitoring the progress of the £10 million rated Zouma.