After weeks of stalemate, Real Madrid has finally been able to confirm Carlo Ancelotti as the replacement for the departed Jose Mourinho. There will be little settling in period for the former Paris Saint-German boss and two-time Champions League winner at Milan, with a number of issues needing immediate attention.
Foremost among those will surely be sorting out his striking options for next season. Gonzalo Higuain is poised to depart for either Arsenal or Juventus, leaving a vacancy that will need to be filled by a top-class replacement. Napoli’s Edinson Cavani would appear to be high on the list of targets, but Madrid will have to act quick if they are to avoid missing out on the last season’s Serie A top scorer.
Reports in Italy in the past 24 hours have claimed that Chelsea have agreed a €58 million fee for the Uruguay international. Such stories may be premature, according to the London Evening Standard, but the publication believes that the Premier League club will open talks with Napoli this week.
Cavani has spoken of it being a dream to play at a club like Madrid, but the €63 million buyout clause that Napoli refuse to negotiate from has proved a stumbling block to all interested parties. Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has said that he wants the matter sorted one way or another by July 20. However, Cavani now appears to be growing frustrated with his club’s stubbornness and wants talks over his future.
"I don't think I'm worth €63m,” he told Marca. “I will have to talk to De Laurentiis about it. I owe a lot to Napoli and I want to leave through the front door if I move on. I am feeling very good at Napoli, but it all depends on the club. We will have to wait and see what options I have. What I want to do is sit down face-to-face with the club president and decide my future together. "Real are one of the best clubs in the world, but there is no deal yet. When you're a kid, you dream about playing at a team like Madrid or Barcelona, but right now I'm at Napoli and I'm very proud to be there.”
Ancelotti would appear to have a gift virtually waiting for him when he takes up his role at the Bernabeu, with Madrid edging close to completing the signing of Malaga’s Isco. The highly rated 20-year-old has been deciding between a move to Madrid or reuniting with his former coach Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City. But Madrid believe they have won the race.
"He wants to be a Real Madrid player and Madrid want him," he said, according to ESPN. Marca believes that it was the intervention of Zinedine Zidane that swung the attacking midfielder toward Madrid. A deal is thought to have been struck for €24 million, potentially rising to €27 million.
It could be a big summer of spending for Real Madrid. The club is reportedly prepared to break the transfer record to sign Gareth Bale and Marca now reports that the Tottenham attacker will ask his club to allow him to fulfill his ambitions at the Bernabeu. The Wales international is said to be confident that a meeting between Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and Madrid president Florentino Perez will yield to a successful and amicable resolution. The notoriously tough negotiating Levy could yet stubbornly refuse to sell Bale at any price, however, as he did with Luka Modric two summers ago.
In the event that does happen, Madrid are lining up Milan’s Stephan El Shaarawy as an alternative, according to Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport. The 20-year-old carried Milan for the first half of last season with 15 goals, although he only scored once since the January arrival of Mario Balotelli. The club recently revealed that the Italy international was not unsellable and Gazzetta believes that El Shaarawy could be a part of a deal that takes Kaka back to Milan. The Brazilian has struggled since joining Madrid in 2009 and has long been linked with a return to the San Siro.