Arsenal's quiet transfer window seems to be about to spark into life.

Widespread reports on Monday claimed Dani Ceballos is on the verge of joining the Gunners on loan from Real Madrid.

William Saliba could follow him to Emirates Stadium by the end of the week, too.

 

TOP STORY - CEBALLOS BOUND FOR ARSENAL

Arsenal are close to completing the loan signing of Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid.

AS report the midfielder could head to London on Tuesday for a medical, with Marca saying the 21-year-old is excited about the prospect of spending a season under Unai Emery.

Various UK media outlets have also stated Ceballos is not far from finalising a deal, while the BBC's David Ornstein says Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba could follow him to north London before the week is out.

 

ROUND-UP:

- Barcelona are to open talks with Lionel Messi to try to extend his contract beyond 2021, according to ESPN.

Jiangsu Suning have joined Chinese rivals Beijing Guoan in the race for Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale but must offer wages of £1million per week, reports the Telegraph.

- Fotosport in Turkey say Galatasaray have made an approach to sign Fred on loan from Manchester United.

- Inter are still eager to sign Romelu Lukaku and have offered Manchester United a choice of €78m or €55m plus winger Ivan Perisic, FCInternews.it suggests.

Ademola Lookman is expected to arrive in Germany in the next 36 hours to finalise a transfer from Everton to RB Leipzig, say Sky Sports.

- Marca claim Atletico Madrid would prefer to sign Real Madrid's James Rodriguez than Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen.

- Atletico Madrid are likely to earn a total of €57m when Angel Correa finalises his move to AC Milan, Sky Sport Italia say.

- Corriere dello Sport claim Napoli are pushing to sign Mauro Icardi from Inter, with James Rodriguez poised for Atletico Madrid.

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri is pushing the Serie A champions to sign Tottenham full-back Danny Rose, according to the Daily Mail.

Eljif Elmas will join Serie A side Napoli from Fenerbahce, it was confirmed on Monday.

Turkish giants Fenerbahce announced North Macedonia international Elmas is set to fly to Italy to complete his reported €15million move to Napoli.

The 19-year-old has been linked with Napoli throughout the transfer window and he will now fill the midfield void left by Amadou Diawara's transfer to Roma and Marko Rog's proposed switch to Cagliari.

"Eljif, who wears our uniform at a young age and who is proud of being a supporter of Fenerbahce, carries our coat of arms with his potential and loyalty to our colours. Wish you a future full of success," Fenerbahce said in a statement.

"We believe that our footballer will represent Fenerbahce and our country in the best way in his new team."

Elmas joined Fenerbahce from North Macedonian side Rabotnicki in 2017.

He scored four goals in 29 league appearances last season as Fenerbahce finished sixth in the Super Lig.

 

Neymar and Gareth Bale have been locked in something of a transfer impasse in recent weeks - but it appears there could be a solution.

According to the Independent, Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar's representatives are trying to push through a deal that would see the Brazil star move to the Santiago Bernabeu, with Bale and money moving the other way.

Manchester United are not thought to be interested in either player, but their pursuit of Harry Maguire may, at last, be coming to an end.

 

TOP STORY - NEYMAR AND BALE PROPOSED IN SWAP DEAL

Neymar is said to be "desperate" to leave Paris Saint-Germain and ideally return to Spain, but his options have so far seemed limited, with Barcelona and Real Madrid either unable or unwilling to stump up for the transfer.

Meanwhile, Gareth Bale has been told by head coach Zinedine Zidane that it would be best for him to leave, but suitors appear hard to come by for the Wales international.

The Independent claims this has prompted some of Neymar's camp to explore the prospect of the forward joining Madrid in a deal involving money and Bale heading to PSG.

The idea is that it would solve some of the concerns around transfer fees that have stalled moves for each player and allow the two teams to sign ready-made stars to replace the ones they are losing.

ROUND-UP:

Manchester United's chase for a centre-back could nearly be over, with the Independent claiming a deal to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City is "imminent".

Manchester City could yet intervene but, according to the Sun, they would have to sell Nicolas Otamendi or Eliaquim Mangala to afford England international Maguire.

- If Bale does not become part of a Neymar swap deal, he could end up in China – the Mirror claim he has been offered a contract worth £1million per week to join Beijing Guoan.

- Having agreed personal terms, Andre Silva is close to moving to Monaco, which would free up AC Milan to sign Atletico Madrid's Angel Correa, both Sky Sport Italia and Sport Mediaset claim.

Napoli have been chasing James Rodriguez but might now go instead for Lyon captain Nabil Fekir, according to RMC Sport and L'Equipe.

- Another Madrid player tipped for an exit, Dani Ceballos, has been told to choose between Arsenal and Tottenham for his season-long loan, AS say.

- Calciomercato reports Juventus could sell either Merih Demiral or Daniele Rugani following Matthijs de Ligt's arrival. Demiral, who only just arrived from Sassuolo, has been linked to AC Milan. Roma are reportedly interested in Rugani.

Carlo Ancelotti said Napoli are still negotiating a deal to prise James Rodriguez from Real Madrid as Atletico Madrid reportedly circle.

James has been linked with Napoli throughout the transfer window, but a deal reuniting the Colombia star and head coach Ancelotti is yet to materialise.

Atletico have emerged as a possible destination for James amid a deadlock in talks between Napoli and LaLiga giants Madrid.

Asked about Napoli's pursuit of James, Ancelotti told TV Luna: "I'm not aware of a deal with Atletico.

"We're still talking for James, a player that I really like. I'm very attached to James, I rate him very highly and he can certainly improve our team.

"He doesn't need to re-announce himself, he's a great player. But he's not the only player we're openly negotiating for. We're assessing many players."

While negotiations for James drag on, Napoli are close to signing Fenerbahce and Macedonia midfielder Eljif Elmas.

With Amadou Diawara now at Roma and Marko Rog poised for Cagliari, Napoli have turned to the 19-year-old Elmas as Ancelotti's men look to dethrone Serie A champions Juventus in 2019-20.

"We're very close and I hope a deal closes quickly. He's a very interesting player and we're defining the final details," Ancelotti added. "I hope he arrives before we leave Dimaro.

"We were looking for a player skilled at playing between the lines, and Elmas has a lot of quality.

"The squad is already very complete. We have to take a little step at a time. We're very close to the top.

"We'll be happy as of August 31. Napoli are working and nothing is impossible, but then there are the wants of the players or problems with the clubs or agents."

Christian Eriksen put some of Europe's biggest clubs on alert when he declared he would "like to try something new" and now it seems the Tottenham star could make a surprise move.

Initial speculation suggested that Real Madrid would make a move for the talented Spurs playmaker.

As the 2019-20 season draws ever closer, however, it could be that another Spanish giant – and neighbours of Real Madrid – steal a march in the quest to land the Denmark international.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETI AND TOTTENHAM IN ERIKSEN TALKS

Atletico Madrid have enjoyed a productive transfer window – despite losing Antoine Griezmann, Rodri and Diego Godin – and could be set to swoop for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen.

The Dane has spent six seasons with the north London club but is ready for a new challenge and could join former team-mate Kieran Trippier in the Spanish capital.

AS reports that the two clubs have started discussions over a fee for the 27-year-old, with Spurs likely to demand in excess of €70million.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain have found their target if Neymar gets his desired move away from the Parc des Princes. According to RMC Sport, Juventus midfielder Paulo Dybala is PSG's top option if Neymar leaves.

- James Rodriguez is linked with the likes of Atletico Madrid and Napoli, and Real Madrid want around €40m for the playmaker, according to Marca.

- David de Gea will become the world's highest paid goalkeeper. The Manchester United shot-stopper has agreed to a six-year deal worth around £117m with the Premier League giants, according to The Telegraph.

- Arsenal could land Moise Kean from Juventus, but only if any deal includes a buy-back clause. The Daily Mail say Juve will insist on a £36m (€40.1m) clause in a possible deal involving the forward.

- Danny Rose is widely expected to leave Tottenham this close season, with numerous clubs linked with the left-back. Now, the Mirror report Serie A champions Juventus are the frontrunners to sign the defender.

- After Aaron Wan-Bissaka's move to Manchester United, Crystal Palace may have found their replacement. The Daily Mail report Palace have held further talks over a potential deal for Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne.

Matthijs de Ligt's protracted move to Juventus has finally been completed, with the defender becoming one of football's priciest teenagers.

The Ajax captain will play for the Serie A champions next term after Juve saw off competition from clubs including Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Manchester United.

De Ligt's star rose last term with Ajax reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, as well as claiming a domestic double under coach Erik ten Hag.

But he now faces justifying a fee of €75million, potentially rising to €85.5m, that makes him the most expensive under-20 defender of all time. Omnisport takes a look at the 10 most expensive teenage transfers and how they fared.

Kylian Mbappe: Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain - €180m

Likely to remain the world's most expensive teenage signing for some time, Kylian Mbappe is already well on the way to justifying the €180m outlay PSG made to prise him away from Monaco two years ago. Mbappe had fired Monaco to a shock Ligue 1 title triumph before departing and his goals have continued to flow in the French capital with 33 in just 29 Ligue 1 games last season. Still just 20, Mbappe has arguably eclipsed team-mate Neymar already, while he has won a World Cup with France. Pele has acknowledged comparisons with the forward, who looks a certain Ballon d'Or winner in the near future. It would take a world-record fee to buy Mbappe, but he has hinted he could be open to leaving PSG.

Joao Felix: Benfica to Atletico Madrid - €126m

Potentially rivalling Mbappe for top individual honours in the years to come could be Joao Felix, who shoulders the burden of replacing Antoine Griezmann at Atletico Madrid, assuming the forward forces through his desired move away from the Wanda Metropolitano. Joao Felix hit 20 goals in all competitions for Benfica last term, three of those strikes coming in the Europa League, to announce himself among the world's top talents. It remains to be seen whether he is ready for the step up, with Atletico gambling €126m that the 19-year-old is a star of the future.


Matthijs de Ligt: Ajax to Juventus - €85.5m

Barcelona were linked with De Ligt, having already sealed a deal for club and country team-mate Frenkie de Jong, but the Ajax captain has instead opted for Serie A. There, he will work under the new Juve head coach Maurizio Sarri with European success demanded after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo failed to deliver the prized Champions League. Domestic dominance is virtually assured, but De Ligt will have to show he can slot straight into one of the planet's tightest defences. A high-profile mistake against England in the Nations League semi-finals showed De Ligt is not yet the complete package, but Italy could be the ideal finishing school.


Anthony Martial: Monaco to Manchester United - €60m

Eyebrows were raised when United parted with €60m for Martial in 2015, with one British newspaper describing the deal as a "waste of money" in a back-page splash. Martial has not quite proved that assessment wrong, although he scored 10 goals in 27 Premier League appearances last term. At 23 he has further development to come and the departure of Jose Mourinho, whose lack of faith in the France forward appeared clear, might well help him make a jump to the next level under successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.


Rodrygo Goes: Santos to Real Madrid - €45m

Real Madrid have been signing young talent in recent seasons in a departure from their Galactico-focused days, although the signing of Eden Hazard and a potential deal for Paul Pogba may change things. Rodrygo Goes will link up with Zinedine Zidane's squad for 2019-20 having remained on loan with Santos after completing a transfer to the LaLiga giants. The 18-year-old is full of promise and Madrid will hope he can be their Neymar.


Vinicius Junior: Flamengo to Real Madrid - €45m

Rodrygo is following in the footsteps of fellow Brazilian Vinicius Junior, who was a rare shining light for Madrid last term, scoring two LaLiga goals. It remains to be seen where Zidane sees Rodrygo and Vinicius fitting in, especially as Hazard seems certain to take up one of the attacking positions and Luka Jovic has also arrived from Eintracht Frankfurt to compete for a striking berth. Fitting everyone in seems set to be a challenge, but Vinicius could be Madrid's future along with Rodrygo.


Luke Shaw: Southampton to Manchester United - €37.5m

Like Martial, Luke Shaw is another player who seems to have laboured under a large price tag at times – which perhaps should be a warning sign for new arrival Aaron Wan-Bissaka after the 21-year-old joined from Crystal Palace. Shaw also had a fractious relationship with Mourinho but made the United left-back spot his own with 29 Premier League starts in 2018-19. The 23-year-old will hope to make further progress this term, but did not make the cut for Gareth Southgate's England squad for the Nations League Finals, with Ben Chilwell and Danny Rose preferred.


Wayne Rooney: Everton to Manchester United - €37m

Wayne Rooney certainly repaid his fee – he was British football's most expensive teenager – becoming United's all-time leading goalscorer and winning five Premier League titles at the club, as well as the 2007-08 Champions League. Rooney will go down as a United great despite affairs such as agitating for a move and falling out with Alex Ferguson. Rooney dropped out of favour in the latter years of his time at Old Trafford and was also sidelined for England, with a return to boyhood club Everton failing to spark. But joining MLS strugglers DC United has been a clever move and Rooney, now 33, is inspiring their rise.


Renato Sanches: Benfica to Bayern Munich - €35m

Bayern thought they were signing a player who would become one of the era's dominant midfielders when they snapped up Renato Sanches from Benfica, but the transfer has not worked out at all. Bayern bought Sanches before he won Euro 2016 with Portugal but, three years later, that remains the highlight of his career. Sanches flopped in a loan spell with Swansea City in the Premier League and seems surplus to requirements at Bayern. The 21-year-old desperately needs to kickstart his career with a move away and has been linked with Turkish giants Fenerbahce.


Gabriel Jesus: Palmeiras to Manchester City - €32m

Handed City's number nine shirt ahead of the 2019-20 season, Gabriel Jesus seems set for a defining campaign. At times after his arrival from Palmeiras the Brazil striker – who just helped his side win the Copa America on home soil – seemed to be preferred to Sergio Aguero by City boss Pep Guardiola, but the tables were turned last term as the Argentina attacker finally won his manager's total faith. Jesus was restricted to just eight Premier League starts in 2018-19 but still scored seven times and he was picked over Aguero for the FA Cup final demolition of Watford, in which he scored a brace.

Lorenzo Insigne believes James Rodriguez would flourish at Napoli if he chooses to join the Serie A club.

Napoli appear locked in a two-team race to sign the Colombia playmaker, who reportedly favours a move to Atletico Madrid.

The battle may come down to whichever club is willing to meet Real Madrid's asking price which, according to Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis, is beyond reasonable.

Atletico have denied being close to an agreement and Italy international Insigne remains hopeful James will consider a switch to Stadio San Paolo.

"The doors are open for strong players, we welcome them all," the Napoli captain told Radio Kiss Kiss.

"James Rodriguez is a true number 10, he has quality and together with us he would be great.

"Those choices, however, are up to the coach and the club."

Napoli have been quiet in the transfer market to date, acquiring only centre-half Kostas Manolas from Roma and right-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo from Empoli since the end of last season.

But after two successive second-place finishes and with the defender Insigne views as the best in Europe, Kalidou Koulibaly, already on board, Carlo Ancelotti's men are continuing to aim high.

"The Scudetto is everyone's dream," Insigne said.

"In the past few years we have come close and we have been disappointed. I'm convinced that if we all play with this determination we can cause trouble for anyone.

"We know we have a great competitor like Juve in front of us, but things could change this season with the new coach [at Juve, former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri].

"I think we are getting stronger, but we have to start off on the right foot because we have the potential to fight at the top."

Barcelona are making moves to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou, but they have work to do.

Neymar, 27, is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain this close season, having told the Ligue 1 champions of his desire for a Parc des Princes exit.

It comes just two years after his world-record €222million move from Barcelona, who are taking steps to bring the Brazil star back.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA OFFER COUTINHO, RAKITIC PLUS €40M FOR NEYMAR

Barcelona have verbally offered Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic, plus €40m, to PSG for Neymar, according to L'Equipe.

The report says PSG are standing firm over Neymar, having paid €222m for the superstar forward two years ago.

There have been contrasting reports about Barca's offer, with others saying it was Ousmane Dembele, not Rakitic, included as part of the deal.

ROUND-UP

- Romelu Lukaku's possible switch from Manchester United to Inter has moved slowly, but the Serie A outfit could be getting closer. According to The Sun, Inter will tell United they will meet their €83m (£75m) asking price if the deal includes bonus payments.

- Atletico Madrid are well and truly rebuilding and their latest addition looks set to be Kieran Trippier. AS say the Tottenham right-back could soon complete a €30m (£27.1m) move to Atletico, while Spurs have enquired about Angel Correa in a potential deal.

- Arsenal have had a quiet close season, but they are still chasing Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos. According to AS, Ceballos is set to join the Premier League outfit on a one-season loan deal.

- Daniele De Rossi was apparently contemplating retirement, but the Roma great could instead be set for a surprise move. Sky Sport say De Rossi is set to accept a short-term deal with Boca Juniors.

- Napoli are struggling to agree a deal with Real Madrid for James Rodriguez and they may turn their attentions to Nicolas Pepe. The Lille forward has been linked with numerous clubs this close season and Gianluca Di Marzio reports Napoli could move for the Ivory Coast international.

- Barcelona are extremely interested in signing Real Betis left-back Junior Firpo, according to Marca. The Spain youth international has reportedly been a target for Liverpool and Manchester United, but Barca are looking at negotiating with Betis over a €50m release clause.

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo denied James Rodriguez is poised to join the LaLiga side, adding there have not been negotiations for the Real Madrid midfielder.

Tipped to move to Napoli throughout the off-season, Atletico have reportedly emerged as the favourites to sign James as the Italian outfit and Madrid struggle to reach an agreement.

James is set to leave Madrid following a two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich, who opted not to make the deal permanent at the end of 2018-19.

Asked about Colombia star James, Cerezo told reporters: "Atletico are interested in great players and James is a great player, but from that to he's going to come, there's some distance.

"Negotiations? Not that I know of, no."

Atletico have been busy in the transfer market, breaking a club record to sign Portuguese sensation Joao Felix, while also adding Marcos Llorente, Hector Herrera, Felipe, Renan Lodi and Ivan Saponjic following the departures of stars like Antoine Griezmann, Rodri, Lucas Hernandez and Diego Godin.

Diego Simeone's transfer business is far from over, however, with Tottenham right-back Kieran Trippier and Espanyol defender Mario Hermoso reportedly close to moving to the Spanish capital.

"We've had a few signings and are in negotiations for a few more," Cerezo said. "Negotiations can end well or badly, but there are negotiations.

"Everything's going well, the team is training well, blending in well and very happy at Los Angeles de San Rafael. Now we're waiting for next season with a month left to go."

Dries Mertens said Napoli must buy new and "top level" players if they want to dethrone Serie A champions Juventus.

Napoli have been linked to Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez throughout the transfer window as they look to eclipse back-to-back runners-up finishes.

Colombia star James is wanted by head coach Carlo Ancelotti and Napoli, though a deal with the LaLiga giants is yet to be completed.

As the season edges closer, Napoli – who finished 11 points adrift of Juve last term – need to reinforce their squad, according to veteran forward Mertens.

"I just want to say that I see other teams are buying a lot, we've signed Kostas [Manolas]," the 32-year-old Belgium international, who has been linked to the Chinese Super League, said during a Q&A.

"All those we buy must be at the top level and therefore someone like James would be welcome to aim even higher. He could make the difference.

"I think we need to buy great players to raise the level of the team. We already have a strong squad, but if we want to win something, we need to buy in order to raise the level. That is clear."

Napoli have already boosted their defence with the signing of Greece international Manolas from Italian rivals Roma.

Manolas is set to form one of the best centre-back pairings in Serie A alongside Kalidou Koulibaly following his €36million arrival.

"I found a very good atmosphere and a warm welcome," Manolas said. "I won't tell you the reason I left Roma, as it's personal. The first call I received about Napoli was from my agent, then the director and the coach.

"They made me feel secure about my decision and it was clear straight away that they really wanted me in this team. I never had doubts, that's why I chose Napoli and I am sure I made the right decision.

"I liked watching the way Napoli played and was eager to become a part of it. I'd give anything to win the Scudetto here.

"Carlo Ancelotti is unique for what he's won throughout his career. I promise that I'll do everything I can to help the team achieve their targets and aim as high as possible."

Napoli star Lorenzo Insigne reiterated that Maurizio Sarri betrayed the club by joining Serie A champions Juventus, while the captain said he wants to retire at Stadio San Paolo.

Former Napoli head coach Sarri angered players and fans in Naples when he swapped Premier League outfit Chelsea for rivals Juventus last month.

Sarri guided Napoli to three consecutive top-three finishes during his time at the club before leaving for Chelsea in 2018.

Insigne was vocal at the time, warning a move to Juve would represent "a betrayal" of Napoli and the club icon stood by his comments on Monday.

"I said it and I say it again, for us Neapolitans, that was a betrayal," Insigne said during a Q&A session.

"Now we have to focus on ourselves and try to beat him. The Scudetto is a dream for all of us and we will try once more."

Insigne's future has been the subject of speculation as he waits to sign a new deal with Napoli.

The 28-year-old – who emerged from the youth team of his boyhood club in 2010 – is contracted to Napoli until 2022.

Insigne has been linked to Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool previously, and when asked if he could move abroad the Italy international added: "No. I'm still young, I'm happy in Naples and want to stay here for the rest of my career.

"Scoring that goal against Real Madrid gave me such strong sensations and I hope other young Neapolitan lads can feel the same way in future.

"It is the dream of all Neapolitan boys and I am very proud to be in this position."

Insigne made 28 Serie A appearances last season, scoring 10 goals as Napoli finished runners-up to Juventus.

The future of James Rodriguez has dominated headlines this off-season.

Napoli have been tipped to sign James after Bayern Munich opted not to take up their permanent option to sign the Real Madrid midfielder.

However, James could be set to remain in the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO SET FOR SHOCK SWOOP

Atletico Madrid are close to completing the signing of James Rodriguez from LaLiga rivals Real Madrid, according to Marca.

Napoli have been favourites to lure James to Italy, with the Serie A side keen to reunite the Colombia star and head coach Carlo Ancelotti.

However, negotiations have dragged on and James – who spent the past two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich – is reportedly keen to make the switch across town.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to le10sport, Barcelona have offered Philippe Coutinho in a straight swap for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar. LaLiga champions Barca reportedly do not have money to spend after paying Antoine Griezmann's release clause.

- Sky Sports reports Arsenal have made an improved £25million offer for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney. Meanwhile, BBC Sport claims the Gunners have not submitted a bid for Lille forward Nicolas Pepe as they cannot afford the €80m-rated star.

- Harry Maguire has told Leicester City he wants to leave amid growing speculation he will join Manchester United, says the Daily Mail.

- According to the Daily Mail, Bayern Munich have not given up on signing Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi. The Bundesliga champions are reportedly set to make a £45million offer. Bayern are also interested in Tottenham right-back Kieran Trippier, Sky Sports understands.

Juventus goalkeeper Mattia Perin is close to moving to Portuguese champions Benfica, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. Perin is looking for regular football following Gianluigi Buffon's return to Turin, where Wojciech Szczesny is the number one.

- The Mirror says Liverpool have joined Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the race to sign CSKA Moscow striker Fedor Chalov.

Juventus could use Moise Kean in a deal to sign Inter outcast Mauro Icardi, according to FCInterNews.it. Rai Sport has also claimed Juve could take Icardi on loan with an option to buy for €40million.

Carlo Ancelotti expects negotiations with Real Madrid to bring James Rodriguez to Napoli will take "a very long time".

Ancelotti, who worked with James, 28, at both Madrid and Bayern Munich, is keen to sign the Colombia international.

But Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis has told Madrid they will have to lower their demands for James, who is surplus to requirements at the Santiago Bernabeu.

De Laurentiis is confident a deal can be struck, however, while Ancelotti has already been in contact with the playmaker.

"James can play in many positions behind the centre-forward," Ancelotti told TV Luna on Saturday after a pre-season loss to Benevento. "He is a number 10 used to playing behind the striker or as a winger, with the tendency to cut inside.

"I sent him a happy birthday message this week. There are negotiations in progress, it's going to take a very long time, but we aren't desperate or anything.

"If it doesn't work out, we'll still be a strong team and might go for a different target."

Napoli have also been linked with Mauro Icardi, who has been told he can leave Inter, but Ancelotti indicated he is satisfied with options in attack that include Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens.

"As for the striker, a modern centre-forward can't just be a finisher now, which is why Arkadiusz Milik is very important for us," the Italian said.

Kostas Manolas has completed a reported €36million switch to Napoli from Roma after undergoing a medical on Saturday.

Roma announced on June 30 that the 28-year-old was due to depart for their Serie A rivals, and the transfer has since gone through, with the defender understood to have signed a five-year contract.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis seemed to confirm the completion of the deal with a "welcome" post on Twitter earlier in the day, before the club followed suit on their official account.

Greece international Manolas spent five years with the Giallorossi after signing from Olympiacos and will bolster Napoli's options at centre-back following the departure of Raul Albiol to Villarreal.

Manolas is Napoli's sixth signing of the close-season, following Alex Meret, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, David Ospina, Orestis Karnezis and Luigi Liguori.

The experienced defender will be expected to line up alongside Kalidou Koulibaly, provided the Senegal international does not leave.

James Rodriguez's potential move to Napoli is being held up by Real Madrid's unreasonable asking price, according to Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

LaLiga giants Madrid reportedly want more than €40million for playmaker James, who has spent the past two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti is eager to be reunited with the player he coached in Spain and Germany, but a stalemate in negotiations is said to have alerted Atletico Madrid.

Napoli are remaining calm, with De Laurentiis confident the Colombia international favours a switch to Stadio San Paolo.

"Carlo likes him very much and we're waiting for a more reasonable demand," De Laurentiis told Corriere dello Sport.

"The obstacle is Real Madrid, who are asking for too much in our opinion.

"But James wants to come to Napoli."

Mauro Icardi is one player who will not be joining Ancelotti's side, despite the striker being told he can leave Inter.

De Laurentiis acknowledged he enquired about the Argentina international, but found him to be set on joining Serie A champions Juventus, and the Napoli chief will not entertain a swap deal involving Lorenzo Insigne.

"[Icardi] will always want to go to Juventus," he said.

"Anyway, I prefer Insigne, because we need him, and then we have [Arkadiusz] Milik and [Dries] Mertens.

"We can't ignore Icardi's talent, he's a very strong player, but we've talked about him so much now that he looks older than 26."

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