Los Blancos won’t accept a loan move for the Colombian, with the Italian side in a scramble to raise money for the midfielder
Napoli are attempting to sell a handful of players in order to raise funds for the permanent transfer of James Rodriguez from Real Madrid – all while Atletico Madrid are poised to swoop should a move to Serie A fall through.
The Partenopei’s sporting director, Cristiano Giuntoli, was in the Spanish capital recently with the hope of closing a deal for the Colombian, but his request for a loan was quickly turned down as Madrid will only consider an outright sale without the option of staggered payments.
Giuntoli’s trip was the second of such visits and essentially nothing changed after the latest meeting, with James still looking for a way out of the Santiago Bernabeu.
Sources have told Goal that Napoli are now moving fast to raise funds to match Madrid’s asking price.
Publicly, president Aurelio De Laurentiis has said that the round ball has been in Real’s court, insisting that the attacker has been keen on a move to the Serie A club and that it has been his parent club that must lower their demands.
Privately, however, club chiefs have been working behind the scenes to finalise the sales of up to three players in order to raise the required funds, perhaps aware that they do not have the upper hand in negotiations.
Roberto Inglese has been the first of the trio, with the striker set to complete a permanent move to Parma in a deal that could fetch as much as €20 million (£18m/$23m).
The others include Marko Rog, who has been close to a move to Eintracht Frankfurt, and Brazilian Carlos Vinicius, who has been also represented by James’s agent Jorge Mendes.
In total, Napoli hope to raise around €50m (£45/$56m), more than enough to match Madrid’s €42m (£38m/$47m) asking price, and aim to have all of those deals wrapped up as early as next week before moving swiftly for James.
Other players are likely to leave Naples too, including Elseid Hysaj, Adam Ounas and Simone Verdi, but negotiations for the sales of those individuals are far from completed.
Time has been very much of the essence for Napoli, as Atletico wait in the wings to pounce if the Italian side’s efforts ultimately fail.
Goal can confirm that James likes the idea of testing himself in Serie A and reuniting with Carlo Ancelotti, but that he’s also open to the idea of staying in Madrid. He already knows the Spanish capital well and has a house there, too.
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Another factor to consider has been that Diego Simeone has put the playmaker at the top of his wishlist, with the club confident they have the financial muscle to get a deal over the line almost immediately.
The biggest stumbling block in a move to the Wanda Metropolitano has been Real themselves, however. James’s employers have already sold Marcos Llorente to their city rivals and would rather see their soccer professional move to Italy instead – even if Atleti offer more money.
And so, James’s future now lies in the hands of De Laurentiis, Inglese, Rog and Vinicius. The clock has been ticking.