Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis complained “why can Bayern Munich take James Rodriguez on loan and we can’t? We could get Nicolas Pepe or someone else.”
The Colombia international was eager to join Napoli and reunite with Carlo Ancelotti, but Real Madrid will only let him leave on a permanent basis for €42m.
“What I don’t understand is why can Bayern, who have three times the revenue of Napoli, take James Rodriguez on loan and we can’t? I would like to see how he and Ancelotti dialogue along with the rest of the team before investing €42m,” De Laurentiis told TV Luna.
“If James could arrive on loan, nobody would say no to that, because we could also purchase another forward who could guarantee 30 goals per season alongside Arkadiusz Milik. Otherwise, I have to think about someone else with an eye to the future.”
With this stance, it's likely James will instead move to Atletico Madrid, who are prepared to pay up to €50m.
It was reported in France that Lille would rather sell 24-year-old sensation Pepe to Napoli than Liverpool, because they’d get Adam Ounas as part of the deal.
De Laurentiis certainly did not back away from the suggestion, although the cost of the operation in total would be around €80m.
“It could be Pepe or someone else. He scores more goals than Hirving Lozano. James is without doubt a very talented player, but if you study his career path, he has never really delivered on that potential.
“When I brought Edinson Cavani to Napoli, they told me he was a support striker, but we put him as a centre-forward and he scored over 30 goals, writing history for both Napoli and PSG.
“When we signed Gonzalo Higuain, he often didn’t get a game at Real Madrid, then he joined us and again scored over 30 goals. When Arkadiusz Milik got injured twice, we made do with Dries Mertens in a central role and he too scored a record number of goals.
“We don’t need a big name star to fill the stadium, because either you love Napoli or you don’t. I have no need for fairweather fans. If they don’t love the club, they may as well stay at home.”