Napoli will try to sign James Rodriguez from Real Madrid this summer but will turn their attention to PSV star Hirving Lozano if they fail to land coach Carlo Ancelotti’s first choice, says president Aurelio De Laurentiis.
The Colombian attacking midfielder and winger first worked with Ancelotti when he was signed by Madrid in 2014 and it was the Italian who brought him to Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal in 2017.
Their time together in Munich lasted just three months, however, as Ancelotti was sacked in September that year and Bayern opted against activating their option to sign James on a permanent basis.
The 27-year-old does not seem to have a future at Madrid under coach Zinedine Zidane and has been linked with several clubs in the Premier League and Serie A.
While De Laurentiis admits he is not convinced James is the player his side need as they look to build a team capable of challenging for the title next season, he hopes to grant his coach’s wish by reuniting the pair.
“James Rodriguez is Ancelotti’s wish. I don’t know if we need him 100 percent, but his talent isn’t in doubt,” he told Radio Kiss Kiss.
“I must help my coach. He wants James and I won’t bat an eyelid, even if he’s very expensive.”
But the Serie A runners-up have alternative options lined up, with 23-year-old Mexico winger Lozano also in their sights.
“If James doesn’t go through with Jorge Mendes, we’ll go forward with Mino Raiola about the possibility of taking Lozano,” De Laurentiis added.
The Stadio San Paolo club are also looking to invest in their defence by signing Kostas Manolas from Roma to replace Raul Albiol, though the president admits he has some concerns about the 28-year-old.
“We’ve been working on Manolas since Albiol announced his desire to leave,” he said. “With Manolas, however, there are issues with his character. We need our players to be very calm. Roma are another problem because they’ve changed their sporting direction. We’re checking to see if we can sign him at a fair and reasonable price.
“Manolas is already at a certain age and can’t be resold. He’s fine by me, but we mustn’t waste money and he has a big salary.”