Napoli wait for Real Madrid to lower James valuation

By Sports Desk July 11, 2019

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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    Ante Rebic was the match-winning hero for Milan for the second week running, the second-half substitute blasting home 19 minutes from time to lift his side up to sixth.

    The Rossoneri had to ride their luck in Friday's clash at Stadio Mario Rigamonti, with goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma producing a series of fine saves prior to Rebic's winner.

    And Pioli admitted it was far from a convincing display by his side, even though Theo Hernandez nearly added a second late on when striking the crossbar.

    "It was not a beautiful Milan performance," he told Sky Sport Italia. "We know we can play better, but we had a great attitude and showed we know how to suffer.

    "We must continue like this. I am satisfied with the mentality and it must remain the same. From a tactical and technical point of view, we have to do more.

    "We are a completely different team to the start of the season, both on the pitch and in terms of attitude. Even tonight we understood how tough Serie A can be."

    Lucas Paqueta was left out of Milan's squad amid suggestions he has asked for a move away, and Pioli is not ruling out further transfer business before the window shuts.

    "Lucas is going through a difficult moment. I would have preferred to take him, but yesterday the situation was not clear. If there are exits then there will be arrivals."

    Donnarumma was equal to two Ernesto Torregrossa shots in the space of 23 seconds and also kept out attempts from Florian Aye and Dimitri Bisoli either side of half-time.

    Milan have kept four clean sheets in five unbeaten matches in 2020 and Donnarumma is now eyeing fourth-place Roma, who are seven points better off with a game in hand.

    "We knew that coming to Brescia was not going to be easy, so it took a great game from everyone," he told Sky Sport Italia.

    "We are more compact at the back. We work in training to achieve this, but it is thanks to the whole team.

    "Our goal now is to qualify for Europe. We must continue like this and not relax. We take it game by game and won't stop. 

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    Brescia were without suspended striker Mario Balotelli against his former club and will rue an inability to convert their chances.

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    The Croatia international scored twice in last week's 3-2 home win against Udinese, including a last-gasp strike, and netted the only goal in Friday's clash with Brescia.

    Milan are now unbeaten in five matches in all competitions this calendar year but they also had Gianluigi Donnarumma to thank for this latest victory.

    Donnarumma made a number of big saves at 0-0, paving the way for Rebic to fire in the winner with 19 minutes remaining as Milan maintained their upward momentum.

    Without the suspended Mario Balotelli against his former club, Brescia nearly opened the scoring 34 minutes in when Florian Aye forced Donnarumma into a low save.

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a header kept out earlier in the half and was guilty of missing a sitter five minutes before half-time, the veteran striker somehow failing to find the target from six yards.

    Ernesto Torregrossa sent an acrobatic scissor-kick volley just wide and then had a goal ruled out for offside, moments after Dimitri Bisoli's near-post shot was saved by Donnarumma.

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    He was at fault for Udinese's opening goal in Milan's 3-2 win last week, but Donnarumma was back to his best here as he kept his side level with a series of saves.

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    What's next?

    Milan host Torino in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals on Tuesday, while Brescia are back in action eight days from now with a Serie A trip to Bologna.

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