Carlo Ancelotti has been formally confirmed as Real Madrid's manager after signing a three-year contract, an appointment that will impact on elite Premier League clubs as Madrid kickstart their squad strengthening for the new season.
The Italian will be presented to the media in the Bernabéu's Royal Box on Wednesday having been replaced at Parc des Princes by the former France World Cup winner Laurent Blanc. Ancelotti's task will be to convince Cristiano Ronaldo to remain with Madrid and even, potentially, commit to a long-term deal, though the manager's desire to revitalise the squad will have implications for Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
Madrid are confident of deflecting City's interest in the Málaga playmaker, Isco, who has already admitted that a move to Madrid would "excite".
The Napoli forward Edinson Cavani is also wanted by the Spanish club and Madrid appear his likeliest destination if he departs Italy, despite City and, more recently, Chelsea having expressed interest in bringing him to the Premier League. The Europa League winners are understood to have discussed using players in part-exchange for a player who scored 29 goals last season and whose release clause is set at €63m (£52.5m), a fee Madrid would apparently be willing to meet.
The Uruguay striker intends to speak with the Napoli president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, next month on his return from the Confederations Cup before determining where his future lies. "Real is one of the best clubs in the world but there is no deal yet," Cavani told the Spanish newspaper, Marca. "When we're kids, we dream about playing at a team like Madrid or Barça but, right now, I'm at Napoli and I'm very proud to be there. If I leave one day, I'll be ready to move to a bigger club. We'll see." The forward's parents have each been quoted over recent weeks suggesting a move to Spain was likely, though Cavani stressed that he had asked his family "thousands of times to please not talk any more because it harms me".
Tottenham, too, may yet be frustrated by Ancelotti's appointment after it emerged Madrid could also be willing to offer the Brazilian club Corinthians €20m (£16.7m) for the midfielder Paulinho in a straight cash payment. The 24-year-old's economic rights are owned by a third party, an issue that has dissuaded other suitors from pursuing the player, but Spurs believed they were close to securing his services with any deal to be concluded after the tournament in Brazil. It remains to be seen whether Madrid will now trump them at the last.
Ancelotti's arrival at the Bernabéu should have a more positive effect on Arsenal whose long-standing target, the Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuaín, will now meet the Italian and is expected to be given the green light to depart the club. Arsenal and Juventus, who have each agreed personal terms in principle with the striker, will then bid formally for him. Arsenal are confident they will secure the 25-year-old on a four-year contract for what would be a club record fee likely to total £22m.
Ancelotti, 54, will cost Madrid around £3.3m in compensation and is expected to be joined by his English assistant from Chelsea and PSG, Paul Clement, with Zinedine Zidane and the former Chelsea striker Hernan Crespo to be handed roles in his backroom staff.
The Italian will be replaced at PSG by Blanc, who has signed a two-year contract – a one-year arrangement with an option for a further 12 months – with the French champions, whose Qatari owners had attempted to lure a number of candidates, from José Mourinho to Fabio Capello, and André Villas-Boas to Frank Rijkaard, before finally opting for the former France defender.
The 47-year-old has been out of a job since leaving his role with the French national team after Euro 2012 and will start work on Monday, when his players return for pre-season training.
"The mission Paris St Germain's management has assigned Laurent Blanc is to continue the work initiated last year and lead the team towards the heights of European competition," read a statement issued by the PSG hierarchy. They, too, boast significant clout in the transfer market having also had designs on Cavani, and could test Chelsea's resolve to keep the defender David Luiz at Stamford Bridge.
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