City refuse to pay €63m for Cavani

Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has claimed Manchester City are not prepared to meet their €63 million asking price for striker Edinson Cavani.

City refuse to pay €63m for Cavani

De Laurentiis has also said Real Madrid are the only club to have made an acceptable offer for the Uruguay forward while he has had no contact with Chelsea.

Cavani, who scored 38 goals last season, is one of the hottest properties in the world game and has been consistently linked with a big-money move.

But it appears City’s interest in the 26-year-old, who scored three goals against them in two Champions League games in 2011, could be cooling.

De Laurentiis, speaking at a press conference to unveil new manager Rafael Benitez, said: “Manchester City have not the money to pay for Cavani, they say, ‘We don’t pay that’.

“The Abu Dhabi (owners) have said they will never spend €63m for Cavani.”

“They say, ‘We can give other things’, but they are not in the interest of our club.”

De Laurentiis added that Real Madrid have made known their willingness to meet a release clause and he would expect the player to speak to the Spanish giants.

He said: “At this time, Real Madrid are the only club who have made a firm offer for Cavani.

“It is human, if Real Madrid call, to answer. He knows he has a clause and must decide.”

As for Chelsea, De Laurentiis said: “Chelsea? Certain kind of agents may tell you Chelsea will call you, but maybe he has spoken with somebody who has spoken with somebody, who has spoken with somebody who says ’maybe’.

“My company never received a call. It is very difficult to pay the €63m because Financial Fair Play is conditioning everybody.”

Cavani is currently with his national team at the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Benitez, who was in charge of Chelsea last season, says the player has made no decisions about his future but he would like him to stay.

The Spaniard said: “He is an important player for us so we are very happy if he continues playing well and scoring goals.”

City have already had a busy summer, having appointed Manuel Pellegrini as manager and spent close to £45m on Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho and Spain winger Jesus Navas.

They have also been strongly linked with Malaga’s Spain U21 playmaker Isco.

Elsewhere Simon Mignolet’s proposed transfer to Liverpool has taken a significant step forward after the Reds agreed a fee in excess of £11million with Sunderland for the goalkeeper.

It is understood the two clubs have finally reached agreement after several weeks of discussion and that the 25-year-old Belgium international will head for Merseyside next week to undergo a medical and discuss personal terms.

His arrival pushes the future of Liverpool’s established number one Jose Reina further into the spotlight, with Barcelona watching.

Their position with Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan is more complicated, however, and is set to run for several weeks.

The Reds are interested in the Armenia international but so are a number of European rivals. Mkhitaryan has a reported £20m buyout clause but with other clubs circling that price could go higher.

Meanwhile, Celtic recruit Virgil van Dijk is relishing the prospect of Champions League football after completing his move to Parkhead.

The 21-year-old Dutch U21 international centre-back yesterday signed a four-year contract after the Hoops finalised his transfer from FC Groningen for a fee that could be worth a reported £2.5m.

Van Dijk, who follows 22-year-old Portuguese forward Amido Balde in joining Celtic this summer, watched his new team-mates beat Barcelona on television last season on their way to the last 16 of Europe’s premier competition and cannot wait to start this season’s campaign.

He said: “Celtic is a big club, the biggest in Scotland of course.

“Celtic are also famous in Europe. I watch the Champions League all the time and you see Celtic all the time. Last year’s game against Barcelona was a famous game.”

Van Dijk could soon get the chance to play in Europe as Celtic begin their Champions League qualifying campaign in mid-July with their first opponents to be decided in Monday’s draw.

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