Real Madrid have missed out on another of their leading striking targets this summer, with Edinson Cavani being unveiled as a Paris Saint-Germain player. But the deal could open the door for Madrid to finally secure a replacement for the unsettled Gonzalo Higuain.
Having already been denied the chance to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski, Madrid weren’t prepared to join PSG in offering to meet Napoli’s €63 million buyout clause for Cavani. The huge deal raised further eyebrows due to the presence in the French champions’ squad of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Perhaps unsurprisingly, certain outlets started putting two and two together to come up with the suggestion that the enigmatic Swede’s time in the French capital would be coming to an end after just a single season.
Their need for a striker and the fact that new manager Carlo Ancelotti signed Ibrahimovic for PSG, saw Los Merengues as one of the sides heavily linked with the player. And Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has furthered speculation about the 31-year-old’s future.
“He won't play with Cavani,” he said of Ibrahimovic, according to ESPN. "He's already been promised to other horizons."
A deal for Ibrahimovic has always looked unlikely, though, because of the contract he signed just 12 months ago that makes him one of the world’s highest-paid players. Currently Madrid still appear to be exploring the possibility of prying Luis Suarez from Liverpool. While Madrid were strongly linked with the Uruguayan when he first revealed his desire to leave Anfield several weeks ago, so far the only club confirmed to have made a bid is Arsenal.
That is about to change, though, according to the Daily Mirror. The tabloid claims that Madrid will launch an opening bid of around £10 million (€11.5m) plus Higuain in part-exchange. It is expected that Liverpool will turn the bid down, while it also seems hard to imagine that Higuain will be interested in a move to Anfield. An offer in excess of £40 million looks set to be required to secure Suarez.
Meanwhile, Chilean Arturo Vidal has revealed that he is flattered with interest from Madrid but that he currently has no interest in leaving Juventus. The dynamic midfielder is thought to be a long-standing target for the Spanish giants.
"I already have a contract with Juve so I will wait then we will see what happens," he said, according to Sky Sports. "The offers from big clubs like Real Madrid please me. Each player is fascinated by a club like them. But I'm already playing for a top club and I want to stay here for a long time.
Madrid have already spent big this summer on Isco and Asier Illarramendi, but look set to recoup some funds with the seemingly imminent deal to take defender Raul Albiol to Napoli. Spanish sports daily Marca believes that transfer reduces the chance of fellow center-back Pepe being sold, although Manchester City are said to still retain an interest in the Portuguese. While Madrid will be loathed to be left with just Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Nacho as established central defenders, a significant offer from City for the 30-year-old could yet prove too tempting to resist.