Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed that Napoli want James Rodriguez but warned he will not pay €36m for Kostas Manolas, who is worth ‘far less’.
Napoli have reportedly agreed a loan deal for James with a €30m option to buy, and De Laurentiis admitted his club were prioritising the Real Madrid midfielder over PSV forward Hirving Lozano.
“James Rodriguez is Ancelotti’s wish,” he told Radio Kiss Kiss.
“I don’t know if we need him 100 percent, but his talent isn’t in doubt. I must help my Coach: he wants James and I won’t bat an eyelid, even if he’s very expensive.
“If James doesn’t go through with Jorge Mendes, we’ll go forward with Mino Raiola about the possibility of taking Lozano.
“We can’t exaggerate and take them both. What will we do about the others? They must be protected, they’re extraordinary and we can’t ignore them.
“We must sell before we buy. We’re in an era of petting and easy love. From July 1, we’ll be a bit more determined and firmer in our negotiations after selling everything that needs to go.
“I hope we can reach an agreement for James. Mendes is perhaps the best and smartest agent in Europe.
“He’s a friend, we have the same interest in other players. James will be expensive, but if we have to make a sacrifice then we will.”
However, the Partenopei President made it clear he would only bring in Manolas from Roma for a discount.
“We’ve been working on Manolas since Albiol announced his desire to leave Naples. He has given us a lot, but is of a certain age. We could try to convince him to stay, but the truth is he'd be doing us a favour if he left.
"With Manolas, however, there are issues with his character. Sometimes he throws tantrums: 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: he has a big salary.
“When we demand fair and reasonable prices for our players, people say they’re exaggerated.
“With all due respect for Manolas, he’s worth far less than €36m. Some presidents want valuable players from me for half of what I paid for them.
“On the market there are those who are more capable and take more because there’s despair on the other side.
“I’m not like that. I have two players in every position and we’re not lacking anything. If we can improve then we will, but without putting ourselves into a mess.”