Report: Atletico Madrid Could Land James Rodriguez as Napoli Hesitates

Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez is nearing a move to city rivals Atletico Madrid.
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Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez is nearing a move to city rivals Atletico Madrid, with Los Blancos losing patience with Napoli's determination to negotiate a reduced fee for the Colombian.

Rodriguez was widely expected to head to Napoli this summer to join up with former manager Carlo Ancelotti again, but the move is yet to materialise. Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis publicly asked Real to lower their asking price, suggesting a deal is far from completion.

According to Calciomercato (via AS), Real president Florentino Perez was incredibly unimpressed with De Laurentiis' comments, and he has now given Napoli a deadline until Thursday to strike a deal for Rodriguez, or else they will end negotiations.

With Napoli reluctant to meet Real's demands of €42m, Atletico Madrid may be able to swoop in and conclude a deal.

Rodriguez is thought to have already ended his own talks with Napoli in favour of a move to Atletico, and Los Rojiblancos must now work hard to convince Real to sell to a direct rival.

Marca state that an agreement is 'close', with Rodriguez's desire to remain in Madrid said to be an important factor in his decision.

They add that Real's determination not to sell to Atletico is the only thing holding up the move, although Zinedine Zidane may be forced to do business if he wants to cash in on Rodriguez this summer, with Atletico thought to be the only other interested side.

However, there is also a report from news outlet Esto Es Atleti which states that a €50m fee has been agreed between the two clubs, but it should be noted that no other outlets have reported such an agreement as of yet.

Having spent the last two seasons on loan with Bayern Munich, Rodriguez is widely expected to leave Real Madrid this summer. The Bundesliga giants did not pursue a permanent deal, meaning Real have been forced to look for a new buyer.

In total, the Colombian has made 111 appearances for Los Blancos, racking up 36 goals and 40 assists in all competitions. However, he struggled to impress manager Zinedine Zidane during his first spell at the club, and the Frenchman's return appears to have signalled the end of Rodriguez's time with Los Blancos.