Napoli want James as well as Pepe

first_imgNapoli will still try to sign Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez even if they pull off a club-record deal for Lille’s Nicolas Pepe, sources tell Goal.Rumours have been circulating on Friday that Carlo Ancelotti is among the host of managers around Europe wanting to sign Pepe, with a reported agreement around the €80 million (£71.9m/$89m) mark.That would be roughly double the club’s current record transfer – the €40 million outlay to sign Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid six years ago. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? But while James’ long-awaited transfer has been complicated by interest from Atletico Madrid, the Serie A side are still very much intent on signing him.“Real Madrid want to sell him and we want to sign him,” Ancelotti confirmed at a press conference on Thursday. “He is among the players that interest us.”The 24-year-old Pepe is one of the most wanted men in world football following a breathtaking 2018-19 campaign which brought 22 goals and 11 assists in all competitions.14 goals the season before suggests it was no flash in the pan, and he would make for an exciting addition to Ancelotti’s squad as he looks to end Juventus’ hegemony in Serie A.Nicolas Pepe Lille 2018-19Napoli plan on signing two attacking players in this window despite an impressive goalscoring return last season, meaning Pepe’s arrival would not preclude the club from pursuing another attacker, though it would likely require James to arrive on loan or under a very favorable payment structure with Real.  Their total of 74 goals in the league was bettered only by Atalanta’s 77, and four more than the 70 goals scored by Juventus.It is hoped that the signing of James would help take Napoli up a level as they look to challenge in Europe as well as domestically.They have also been linked with moves for Mexican sensation Hirving Lozano and wantaway Inter forward Mauro Icardi, but James remains the priority.The move looked to have fallen through after Atletico confirmed their interest in the Colombian as part of Diego Simeone’s dramatic overhaul at the Wanda Metropolitano.Happy in Madrid, it had been suggested that Atletico was James’ preferred destination but no deal has yet been finalised, leaving the door open for Napoli.Sources also have told Goal that following the sale of Marcos Llorente to Atletico, as well as Mario Hermoso move there, Real Madrid would prefer to not see another one of their players end up with their local rivals, and prefer James move to Napoli.But despite that hestiancy, Real Madrid are determined not to give James away to Napoli.The transfer situation surrounding James could soon accelerate, with Colombia international is set to return to Real Madrid on July 29, following his break after the Copa America.last_img