Real Madrid will compete with Chelsea and Manchester City for the Napoli forward Edinson Cavani after the Spanish club held preliminary talks with the Uruguayan's representatives with a view to securing his services before the new season .
Reports in Spain suggest Real had been due to speak with Cavani's agent late last month only for the discussions to be postponed while José Mourinho negotiated his departure from the Bernabéu and the club president, Florentino Pérez, concentrated on his re-election. With that now resolved, the meeting was rescheduled and held this week in Madrid.
Cavani, now preparing for the Confederations Cup in Brazil having scored the only goal in Uruguay's World Cup qualifying victory in Venezuela on Tuesday, has expressed a desire to play for either Mourinho at Chelsea or the new City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, but is now aware of Real's interest, with the club apparently prepared to trigger the €63m (£53.6m) buy-out clause in the striker's contract if necessary. It seems unlikely that either Chelsea or City would , with the London club's interest amounting to tentative offers involving a player exchange to make up the fee. Another prospective target for MourinhoChelsea target, the former Chelsea their former midfielder Nemanja Matic, wants to remain at Benfica for another season least, potentially scuppering any hope they and Manchester United had of luring the Serb back to the Premier League this summer. Matic moved to Stamford Bridge from Kosice in 2009 for around £1.5m but played only twice, spending a period on loan at Vitesse Arnhem. Benfica secured his services as part of the deal that saw David Luiz move to Chelsea in January 2011, with the midfielder's form impressive in the period since.
That had prompted United and Chelsea to explore the possibility of signing the 24-year-old this summer. "But, frankly, I want to stay another year in Lisbon," said Matic. "Of course, someone like José Mourinho wanting me to go back to London would be an opportunity to prove that I can play in the Premier League, but I want to achieve more at Benfica, particularly in the big games."
The Serb, whose Benfica team lost out in the Portuguese league, the Europa League and the Portuguese Cup final over the last week of the domestic season, has targeted progress in next year's Champions League as motivation, with the final to be staged at the Lisbon club's Estádio da Luz in May 2014.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © jikatu