Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti has spoken in glowing terms of the "true quality" of reported transfer targets James Rodriguez and Mauro Icardi.

Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed Ancelotti would be keen to reunite with James, with whom he worked at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

The Colombia star's future is uncertain after his loan deal with Bayern ended and the option to make that move permanent was not taken up.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Ancelotti said of James: "He is a player I know well and he is true quality.

"Unfortunately, he is not a Napoli player yet...maybe he never will be, or maybe he will!

"Let's talk about James once he becomes a Napoli player, as we do with other players. If today a manager from another club spoke about a Napoli player, I wouldn't be happy."

Napoli have also been linked with a move for Icardi, who has been told by Inter bosses he is not in their plans for the first season under new coach Antonio Conte.

They are reported to have offered the Argentina striker, who is also being linked with Juventus, a contract worth in the region of €7.5million per season.

"Icardi is a great player, held in high esteem by all of us, by me as well," said Ancelotti.

"All these names of such important players...it is positive they are mentioned next to us."

Ancelotti also spoke positively about his hopes for a new defensive partnership between Kalidou Koulibaly and new signing Kostas Manolas, with Raul Albiol having ended his six-year stay at the San Paolo by returning to Spain with Villarreal.

"From me and the entire Napoli community goes a big thanks to Albiol, who lived an important spell here at Napoli," he said. "He was very useful, a true professional and we will miss something there. But one of the best defenders on the market has arrived.

"Manolas is a formidable central defender and he will make a fantastic pair with Koulibaly. They will enable us to play a more aggressive football since we will be able to have a less deep defensive line."

James Rodriguez could yet be staying in Madrid – by moving to Atletico.

James, 27, is set to leave Real Madrid after Bayern Munich opted against exercising their purchase option for the playmaker at the conclusion of his two-year loan deal.

It seemed the Colombia international was likely to move to Napoli, but interest from Atletico has, at least, slowed down that potential switch.

 

TOP STORY – JAMES PREFERS ATLETICO SWITCH OVER NAPOLI

According to Gol Caracol, James is enjoying the interest from Atletico Madrid.

The report says Atletico would be ready to invest the €120million they are expected to receive from Barcelona for Antoine Griezmann on James.

With Joao Felix having already arrived at the Wanda Metropolitano, Diego Simeone could have plenty of attacking talent to work with next season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Griezmann is set for a fine. AS report the forward, expected to join Barcelona, did not report for the start of Atletico Madrid's pre-season and could face a fine. The France international is reportedly in Ibiza on holiday.

- Paul Pogba will join Manchester United on their pre-season tour despite wanting a move from Old Trafford. The Mirror report Real Madrid – who are eyeing the midfielder – told Pogba to make the trip, unwilling to risk upsetting the United hierarchy.

- Inter are still trying, unsuccessfully, to find a deal for Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku. La Repubblica report Inter offered either Mauro Icardi or Radja Nainggolan as part of a deal for Lukaku, but that was rejected.

- Tottenham are eager to bring in Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo. Corriere dello Sport report Spurs have offered £20.6m (€23m) plus defender Toby Alderweireld for Zaniolo, a deal which was apparently well received. Juventus are also interested in the 20-year-old Italy international.

- Just as it looked like his Valencia deal was just about done, Celta Vigo forward Maxi Gomez may have had a change of heart. West Ham have offered to meet Gomez's £44.9m (€50.1m) release clause, according to Sky Sports, who say the Premier League club – who sold Marko Arnautovic to Shanghai SIPG – want to pay in instalments.

- Liverpool could be signing another young talent. The Telegraph report the European champions are set to sign England Under-17 midfielder Harvey Elliott, the 16-year-old having left Fulham and decided to head to Anfield over several European giants. Liverpool have already added 17-year-old Dutch defender Sepp van den Berg this close season.

Manchester United's pursuit of a new centre-back sounds like it is becoming quite expensive.

Not only have Leicester City reportedly quoted them £90million plus for Harry Maguire, the Red Devils are also being expected to make the England man their third-highest-paid player.

Little wonder Manchester City have apparently stepped away from the race to sign him.

 

TOP STORY - UNITED TO OFFER MAGUIRE HUGE WAGE

The Daily Star claim Manchester United are to offer Harry Maguire a wage of £250,000 a week to tempt him to Old Trafford.

That is said to be three times as much as he earns at Leicester City and would make him the third-highest earner at the Red Devils, behind Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez.

Perhaps he is worth the money, though. According to the Manchester Evening News, Alex Ferguson has given the signing of Maguire his seal of approval.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United do not know if Paul Pogba will be on the plane to Australia for the start of their pre-season training camp, according to the Mirror. Pogba is determined to leave Old Trafford amid links to Real Madrid and former club Juventus.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo wants to join Juventus despite interest from Champions League runners-up Tottenham. Spurs have reportedly offered €23million plus defender Toby Alderweireld, while Juve are prepared to offload Gonzalo Higuain and cash for the 20-year-old.

- The Star reports Arsenal want Bournemouth's Ryan Fraser if they are not able to sign Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha. The Gunners are also favourites to sign Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney ahead of Napoli, according to CalcioNapoli24.

- According to Sport Mediaset, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's agent is in London to hold talks with Manchester United about the Lazio midfielder. Milinkovic-Savic emerged as a target for United at the start of 2018-19 and with the Red Devils needing to reinforce their midfield amid doubts over Paul Pogba, the Serbia international could be available for €80million.

Barcelona target Antoine Griezmann has informed Atletico Madrid that he will not report for the start of pre-season training, Marca says. Griezmann has already made clear his desire to leave Atletico after five years, with LaLiga champions Barca the favourites to sign the France star.

- Everton owner Farhad Moshiri is keen to make a 'statement signing' and has identified Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa, claims the Daily Mail.

- The Sun says Atletico Madrid could be forced to sell Saul Niguez amid speculation linking the Spain international midfielder to Manchester United. According to reports, Quality Sports Investments own 40 per cent of Saul's transfer rights and would be owned that percentage if the player – who has a €150million release clause – leaves Madrid.

Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake has emerged as a target for Premier League champions Manchester City, who are refusing to meet Leicester City's valuation of Harry Maguire.

Romelu Lukaku has been strongly linked with Inter, but it appears Juventus are also interested in the Manchester United striker.

Lukaku, 26, looks set to leave Old Trafford this close season, having struggled to have the same impact at United as he did at Everton.

Inter seemed set to be the Belgium international's most likely destination, but Juve are interested, or likely at least driving up the price for their rivals.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS MAKE LUKAKU APPROACH

According to Sky Sport Italia, Juventus have approached Manchester United about Lukaku.

Such a move would be a blow to Inter, who looked favourites to sign Lukaku, with an exit seemingly looming for Mauro Icardi.

Gianluca Di Marzio reports there is uncertainty over how serious Juventus are about a move for Lukaku.

 

ROUND-UP

- Juventus are also linked with Icardi, who is a reported target for Napoli. La Gazzetta dello Sport report Napoli are ready to offer €60million for the forward.

- Atletico Madrid are ready to complete a deal for Alvaro Morata. The forward joined the LaLiga club in January on an 18-month loan deal from Chelsea, but Atletico are reported to have a purchase option. Sport say they are ready to pay €55m (£49.3m) for Morata, potentially as soon as this close season.

- Arsenal need to strengthen but it seems any movement from the Emirates Stadium is happening slowly. AS report the Premier League club are in negotiations with Real Madrid over Lucas Vazquez, prepared to pay £31.4m (€35m) for the attacker. Arsenal may finally find an exit for Mesut Ozil, with TRT Spor reporting Turkish giants Fenerbahce could take the playmaker on loan.

- Staying in London, Tottenham could be set to sign Real Madrid's Dani Ceballos on loan. AS report Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino spoke to Ceballos about a move, and Sport say any deal would be a one-year loan agreement as the 22-year-old is eager to prove himself at the Santiago Bernabeu.

- Spurs are also reportedly interested in Real Madrid's Mariano. Tottenham have enquired about Mariano, according to AS, while Roma are also interested in the 25-year-old forward.

- Forget Manchester United and Tottenham, Youri Tielemans has chosen Leicester City. Having spent the second half of last season on loan at Leicester from Monaco, Tielemans is close to finalising a permanent move to the King Power Stadium, according to The Sun.

Roma have signed Amadou Diawara from Napoli for €21million.

The midfielder, on international duty with Guinea at the Africa Cup of Nations, has signed a five-year deal.

Diawara, 21, joins Roma after the Giallorossi sold Kostas Manolas to Napoli for €36m on Sunday.

"We have been following Amadou for a while now," said Roma's chief executive Guido Fienga.

"He is a player whose talent has been clear to those in Italy for a number of years.

"We are pleased to welcome him to Roma, with the confidence that he can become an important player for the club."

Roma announced the deal coupled with a social media video raising awareness of missing children.

Paulo Fonseca's squad is taking shape after the coach was brought in from Shakhtar Donetsk to replace Claudio Ranieri.

Roma signed Italy international Leonardo Spinazzola for a fee of €29.5m on Sunday, with the left-back joining from Juventus, while 20-year-old defender Luca Pellegrini signed for the Serie A champions for €22m.

Edin Dzeko has been linked with a switch to Inter, though, while rumours suggesting Roma could sign Gonzalo Higuain from Juve have been denied by the striker's agent and brother.

Nicolo Barella is also said to be a target for Roma, with reports claiming they are set to beat Inter to the signature of the Cagliari midfielder.

Manolas, meanwhile, has posted a farewell message to Roma on social media.

"I want to thank the coaches, team-mates and all the fans who have stood by me and supported me over the years," the Greece centre-back wrote on Instagram. 

"I spent five wonderful years, I always gave everything with love for this team."

Napoli have signed centre-back Kostas Manolas from Serie A rivals Roma for a fee of €36million.

The 28-year-old, who has spent the past five seasons in the Italian top flight with Roma, had also been touted as a target for AC Milan, Arsenal and Juventus, but Carlo Ancelotti's side have won the race for his signature.

Amadou Diawara, currently playing at the Africa Cup of Nations with Guinea, is expected to head the opposite way to Roma for €21m.

Manolas will effectively replace Raul Albiol at Napoli, with the Spaniard on the brink of joining LaLiga side Villarreal, while Kalidou Koulibaly's future also remains uncertain.

James Rodriguez says his future lies in the hands of Real Madrid as he continues to be linked to a reunion with Carlo Ancelotti at Napoli.

The Colombia star spent the previous two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich, who opted not to exercise their option to make James' deal permanent.

It has left James in a state of flux with LaLiga giants Madrid seemingly keen to cash in having spent heavily to bring Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic to the Santiago Bernabeu to reinforce Zinedine Zidane's squad.

Napoli are reportedly the frontrunners to capture the attacking midfielder's signature and it is a move that would see James once again join up with Ancelotti, who took him to Madrid and Bayern.

Atletico Madrid have also been linked with a move to prise him from their rivals but James, speaking to reporters after Colombia were eliminated at the Copa America by Chile, is in no immediate rush to decide his next move.

"I don't know yet where I will play next season," he said. "I have another three weeks to think about it.

"It doesn't just depend on me, [I] have to see what Real Madrid will decide. There are people inside who decide a lot, I can't do anything."

James has won two Champions League medals and a LaLiga title with Madrid, while he also collected a pair of Bundesliga trophies and a DFB-Pokal with Bayern.

Neymar for Paul Pogba?

That was the proposal by Paris Saint-Germain to Manchester United, who are both set for busy off-seasons due to their wantaway stars.

But a swap between the two clubs does not appear to be on the agenda.

 

TOP STORY – WOODWARD SAYS NO TO NEYMAR

A swap deal involving Neymar and Paul Pogba was rejected by Manchester United vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

That is according to the Independent as Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and United midfielder Pogba both seek exits.

Woodward reportedly said no to the idea due to costs and his determination to keep Pogba, who has been linked with a return to Juventus and Real Madrid .

Neymar is set to leave PSG and the world's most expensive player is ready to publicly apologise to Barcelona over his exit in 2017 to help facilitate a return to Camp Nou, according to AS.

 

ROUND-UP

Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has agreed to join Paris Saint-Germain in an €80million deal, according to Serbian newspaper Blic. The 24-year-old was linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid prior to the 2018-19 season. AS reports that Ligue 1 champions PSG are also set to sign Sevilla attacker Pablo Sarabia.

- A move to Barcelona for Matthijs de Ligt is "still possible", according to Mundo Deportivo. Italian press have reported that Juventus are favourites to sign the 19-year-old Ajax captain, however, LaLiga champions Barca still appear to be in the running.

- According to AS, Real Madrid are keen on signing Napoli midfielder and Spain international Fabian Ruiz. The 23-year-old only moved to Serie A from Real Betis in 2018-19.

Edin Dzeko's move from Roma to Inter will be announced shortly, Corriere dello Sport reports. Antonio Conte's Inter are now targeting Cagliari star Nicolo Barella. The Nerazzurri are also interested in Brazil captain Dani Alves after his Paris Saint-Germain exit, according to France Football.

- Former Manchester City and Arsenal star Samir Nasri is a target for new A-League side Western United in Australia, according to the Herald Sun. The 31-year-old Frenchman is a free agent after leaving West Ham.

Borussia Dortmund defender Dan-Axel Zagadou is wanted by Arsenal, according to the Mirror. The Gunners have been linked with Saint-Etienne teenager William Saliba but Zagadou could be available following Mats Hummels' return to Dortmund.

- Serie A rivals Juventus and Napoli are battling it out to sign Tottenham full-back Kieran Trippier, the Mirror reports. Joao Cancelo is reportedly close to joining Manchester City and Juve see the England international as the perfect replacement.

James Rodriguez is unsure where he will be playing in 2019-20 as the Colombia and Real Madrid midfielder continues to be linked with Napoli.

Serie A side Napoli want James, whose future is up in the air after Bayern Munich did not take up the option to sign the star permanently following a two-year loan deal.

James does not appear wanted at the Santiago Bernabeu, where Zinedine Zidane's Madrid are looking to raise funds after a busy transfer window.

Asked about his future amid Colombia's Copa America campaign in Brazil, James said: "Right now I'm only thinking about the Copa America.

"I still don't know where I'll go but I want to be calm. The decision depends on the club [Real Madrid].

"There are people with a lot of power there, I can't do much. I haven't spoken with Zidane."

Colombia are through to the Copa America quarter-finals, with James and his team-mates set to face Chile.

Napoli have hit out at media reports claiming Carlo Ancelotti has agreed to the sales of Allan and Lorenzo Insigne, calling speculation "the first big hoax of the season".

Brazil midfielder Allan and Italy international Insigne are two of Napoli's most valuable assets and have been linked with moves – the former apparently particularly interesting Paris Saint-Germain.

A report by Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport claimed Ancelotti had given Napoli chiefs the OK to the players' sales in order to raise the funds required to sign Kostas Manolas, James Rodriguez and Hirving Lozano.

But Napoli moved to shut down such speculation on Monday, insisting the players are not for sale.

A brief statement on Twitter read: "The Gazza [Gazzetta] writes that Ancelotti has said OK to the sales of Allan and Insigne.

"We can call that the first big hoax of the season. Napoli players are not for sale, and no offer worthy of them has come in. If offers arrive, they will be evaluated."

Allan featured 33 times in Serie A last term as Napoli finished as runners-up for a second successive season, while Insigne made 28 appearances, netting 10 goals.

Kalidou Koulibaly suspects he will stay at Napoli next season despite links with numerous major European clubs, though he is not 100 per cent certain.

Koulibaly, 28, joined Napoli from Genk in 2014 and has gone on to establish himself as one of the world's leading centre-backs.

Manchester United, Manchester City and Napoli's bitter rivals Juventus are all said to be particularly keen on him, though Partenopei chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis has not made things easy, reportedly holding out for €120million.

Koulibaly seems relaxed about his future and appears to be in no rush to force a move while he is away on international duty with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations, helping them begin their campaign with a 2-0 win over Tanzania on Sunday.

"I don't know [if I will still be at Napoli], I think so, but I have to play the Africa Cup of Nations and then after that I'll go back to Napoli," Koulibaly told Goal.

"Everyone's speaking about me, but I'm only speaking about Senegal, because that's my objective and I want to achieve something big with Senegal.

"I don't want to talk about my future at the moment, I prefer to talk about Senegal. Senegal achieved something great [on Sunday]. I am 200 per cent with Senegal and 200 per cent with the 15 million Senegalese people.

"I'm relaxed, I want to focus on the AFCON and after that return to Napoli and we'll see what happens. The most important thing now is to win with Senegal."

Senegal's remaining Group C matches will see them go up against Algeria and Kenya.

A return to Barcelona appears on the cards for Neymar.

The Brazilian looks set to leave Paris Saint-Germain, with Barca and LaLiga rivals Real Madrid reportedly interested.

But the familiarity of Camp Nou could see Neymar play for Barca one again.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR CONFIDENT OF BARCA RETURN

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar will re-join Barcelona, if he gets his wish.

According to Catalonia-based newspaper Sport, Neymar has told Barca players: "Relax, I will come".

Neymar – who left Barcelona for PSG in a world-record €222million deal in 2017 – has also been linked with Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

AC Milan are in negotiations to sign Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, according to Sport Mediaset. The Serie A side want to reunite Torreira with former Sampdoria boss Marco Giampaolo on a two-year loan deal at San Siro. Arsenal boss Unai Emery, meanwhile, wants extra cash to sign Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, says the Metro.

- According to La Voix du Nord, Lille star Nicolas Pepe could still move to Manchester United or Liverpool despite strong interest from Atletico Madrid and Inter, who are both reportedly preparing €90m bids. Le10 Sport, however, reports that Pepe would be keen on PSG if Neymar leaves.

Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal will reject a move to the Chinese Super League, according to Sport. RAC 1, meanwhile, says the LaLiga champions have turned down the chance to re-sign Dani Alves following his exit from PSG.

Daniele De Rossi could join AC Milan, Inter, Fiorentina, Sampdoria or Atalanta after deciding to remain in Serie A following his Roma exit, according to Sky Sport Italia.

Napoli midfielder Allan is attracting interest from PSG, according to Calciomercato. The Brazilian, who is valued at £60m, was target by the Ligue 1 holders in January.

Newcastle United and Paraguay star Miguel Almiron has caught the attention of Real Madrid, that is according to the Mirror. Almiron only moved to the Premier League from MLS champions Atlanta United in January.

Ex-Napoli captain Marek Hamsik "has no intention" of swapping Dalian Yifang for Roma as he could never play for another Serie A club, according to the player's agent.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported on Saturday that Roma are eyeing a swap deal involving Hamsik and Javier Pastore.

But the Slovakia international's representative Martin Petras has ruled out an instant return to Serie A while his client remains under contract with Dalian.

"Marek is absolutely happy in China and has no intention of returning to Europe right now," Petras told Sky Sport Italia.

"He wants to respect his three-year contract with Dalian. He wishes to achieve important targets with the Dalian jersey and win as much as possible.

"Besides, Napoli is his home and his family in Italy, so he'd never play for a different club."

Hamsik usurped legendary forward Diego Maradona to become Napoli's all-time leading scorer in December 2017.

He joined Dalian in a reported €20million deal four months ago and has scored once in 11 league matches since his arrival.

Maurizio Sarri considers his arrival at Juventus the "crowning moment" of his coaching career and insists he has not disrespected Napoli by taking the job.

Former Napoli boss Sarri has been appointed at Serie A champions Juve, leaving Chelsea after just one year in the Premier League to replace Massimiliano Allegri.

The 60-year-old, a boyhood fan of the Partenopei, had challenged the Bianconeri for the title in 2017-18 and his subsequent move to Turin has been met with outrage by some at Stadio San Paolo.

But Sarri is delighted to have moved to Italy's leading club in the modern era.

"I had a wonderful experience in the Premier League but, for personal as well as professional reasons, I felt the need to come back to Italy," he told a news conference on Thursday.

"This opportunity has been given by Juventus, the most important club in Italy at the moment, and I believe it's the crowning moment of a very long career that, in 80 per cent of cases, has been quite difficult.

"I think I have respected everyone. I had to respect my professionalism, too, and take the direction that I needed."

Sarri was a rival of Juventus previously and explained why that history will have no influence on his ability to do the job.

"I spent three years where, waking up, my very first thought was to beat Juventus," said Sarri, who insisted he remains on good terms with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis despite not speaking to him since joining Juve.

"Juventus were winning a lot - we were the most credible alternative. My professional duty was to create the necessary conditions in order to defeat Juventus.

"I gave 110 per cent, but unfortunately we didn't succeed. I would do it again obviously. This is a sporting conflict. When it is over, of course, it is over. My professionalism means I will give my best for this club right now.

"In the past, maybe I used the wrong words or the wrong methods. But somehow that can be appreciated. If I have an opponent, I might hate this opponent but, ultimately, I will also appreciate them for doing their best in order to win."

The race is heating up for Neymar.

With Paris Saint-Germain reportedly willing to part with the world's most expensive player, two LaLiga giants are set to go head-to-head.

Will Neymar end up at former club Barcelona or bitter Spanish rivals Real Madrid?

 

TOP STORY – BARCA AND MADRID FIGHT FOR NEYMAR

A return to Barcelona and a blockbuster transfer to Real Madrid both appear on the cards for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Madrid are reportedly ready to pay €130million for Neymar in a deal which would also include either James Rodriguez or Gareth Bale.

But Globo Esporte says Neymar – who left Barca for PSG in a €222m transfer in 2017 – is still on track for a Camp Nou comeback.

It comes after Le Parisien claims PSG want €300m to part with the injured Brazil forward.

 

ROUND-UP

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is set to become the world's most expensive full-back as Manchester United negotiate a £55million deal with Crystal Palace, according to the Daily Record. However, talks between the two Premier League sides have dragged on and the Red Devils have identified alternatives, with Sky Sport Italia claiming Napoli's Elseid Hysaj is a target.

- According to Marca, Atletico Madrid will announce the signing of Benfica sensation Joao Felix on Thursday. The 19-year-old has already undergone a medical and signed his contract ahead of the €120m move.

Frank Lampard has notified his Derby County squad that he will replace Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea if the right offer arrives, the Mirror reports. Former Chelsea star Lampard is expected to move back to London following Sarri's switch to Juve.

Paris Saint-Germain outcast Adrien Rabiot is on the verge of signing for Serie A champions Juventus, according to Sportitalia. The French midfielder and free agent has reportedly penned a five-year contract worth €7m plus bonuses, and a €10m signing-on fee.

- According to the Daily Mail, Inter and Atletico Madrid are both eyeing a move for Southampton full-back Ryan Bertrand.

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has agreed a deal worth £180,000 per week to join Inter, says The Sun. With Lukaku heading for the exit, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly eyeing Bournemouth's David Brooks.

Andre Gomes is on the verge of joining Everton permanently from LaLiga champions Barcelona. Gomes enjoyed a successful loan spell in 2018-19 and a £22m fee has "verbally been agreed", according to the Telegraph.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.