Napoli transfer news: De Laurentiis claims Real Madrid's valuation of James Rodriguez is too high
What's the story?
He boldly added that the Colombian is one of the best players in the world, behind only five-time Ballon d'Or recipients Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
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James is currently looking for a move away from Los Blancos after having concluded his underwhelming two-year loan spell with Bayern Munich. The Bundesliga giants had the option of permanently signing the midfielder for €42 million (£37 million) but decided not to trigger the clause.
Napoli have emerged as favorites to sign the Colombian international but are only interested in a loan deal. Real Madrid, on the other hand, want the 27-year-old to be permanently signed for €42 million as they attempt to recoup some of the money they spent on the likes of Luka Jovic, Eden Hazard, and others.
A move to Italy is being heavily tipped for Rodriguez, with Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli believed to have flown to Madrid recently to finalize a deal.
The heart of the matter
De Laurentiis has heaped praise on Rodriguez, deeming him to be second only to the likes of Ronaldo and Messi. However, he maintained that Madrid's valuation of the player is too high.
Speaking to Corriere dello Sport, he said, "James is the footballer who, after Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, is considered one of the best."
"Ancelotti likes him very much, and James wants a move to Napoli, but we are waiting for a more reasonable demand from Real. They have high demands in our opinion."
Atletico Madrid are also reportedly interested in acquiring Rodriguez but Real Madrid are not keen on selling him to a city rival. It remains to be seen whether the midfielder ends up at Napoli this season or if he makes a surprise move elsewhere.