Ancelotti denies Higuain to Napoli deal

The attacker is widely expected to leave his current club this summer but his coach has stressed that no agreement on a transfer is yet in place

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has rubbished reports that the Liga champions have reached an agreement with Napoli over the sale of Gonzalo Higuain.

The 25-year-old Argentina international has been heavily linked with a move away from Madrid, with Arsenal, Napoli and Chelsea all believed to be interested in his services.

Reports last weekend suggested Higuain was close to a switch to the Serie A side, but Ancelotti has insisted the transfer is by no means a done deal and reiterated his desire to keep the striker in the Spanish capital.

“Higuain to Napoli a done deal? Not true, I don’t have any news about this,” Ancelotti told reporters after his side’s 6-0 friendly win over Bournemouth.

“We still have to speak about Higuain as a Real Madrid player at this point.

“I spoke to him this week. He is a Real Madrid player and until we have news we have to consider him as a Real Madrid player and I would like him to stay with us.

“He is very important to us and nothing else, it is not my business to judge the price of a player.”

Higuain’s contract with Madrid runs until the summer of 2016.

Dortmund wanted Isco & Thiago, confirms Klopp

The 46-year-old has stated the Champions League finalists were after both Spaniards, while adding that he sees Jackson Martinez as a good replacement for Robert Lewandowski

Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has revealed that the Bundesliga giants were interested in signing Isco and Thiago Alcantara this summer.

BVB were in the market for an attacking midfielder due to the €37 million departure of Mario Gotze to Bayern Munich and both Spain internationals had made their shortlist.

However, Dortmund eventually opted to sign Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Shaktar Donetsk as Isco and Thiago ended up at Real Madrid and Bayern respectively.

“We also thought about signing Isco. We are not stupid. We had a look at Thiago Alcantara as well. We saw all of them,” Klopp told Kicker.

“It was pretty clear that we would not stand a chance in the race for Isco’s signature, though.”

The 46-year-old coach then went on to discuss potential replacements for Robert Lewandowski, with the Poland international expected to make the move to Bayern in the summer of 2014, and admitted that Porto star Jackson Martinez is one of the players on BVB’s list.

“I have a number of attackers in my mind, but I don’t know whether we can realistically sign any of them,” Klopp continued.

“Jackson has a lot of qualities that make him an interesting striker. He holds up the ball very well, scores a lot of goals and is always available to receive the ball.”

The 26-year-old Martinez has a contract with Porto until June 2016.

Ancelotti: Ronaldo important for future

The Italian coach says the Portuguese star is fundamental to the club going forward and attacker Gonzalo Higuain still has a part to play at the Santiago Bernabeu

Carlo Ancelotti has insisted Cristiano Ronaldo remains an integral part of Real Madrid going forward and says Gonzalo Higuain is a “fantastic” player.

The Italian coach, who took charge of Madrid for the first time in their 6-0 thrashing of Bournemouth, has had to fend off questions about the Portuguese star’s future while the latest reports from Italy suggest that Napoli are close to securing Higuain.

Ronaldo, who has two years remaining on his deal, has been persistently linked with a move away from the capital-based outfit with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain the main contenders for his signature, but Ancelotti has denied that the Portuguese will be leaving anytime soon.

“Cristiano is the most important player in the team and he will be in the future, everyone knows him and he plays good games and is good for the club,” he told reporters.

“Higuain is a fantastic player and right now is a Real Madrid player.”

Madrid put on an exhibition display as they put six past Bournemouth, with Ronaldo grabbing a double while Sami Khedira, Higuain, Angel Di Maria and Casemiro all got on the scoresheet.

Ancelotti said he was pleased with the workout but there is still a lot more to come from his side.

“The most important thing is that the team worked hard and players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Ozil, other important players and youngsters played with flair in attack and performed well.

“We had problems at first but had some good moments; we controlled the match and played well. We have high calibre players with flair and I am very happy with the squad.

“The first match went well, our aim is to play good football, we have quality and we had a few good moments, some not so good but that is normal, it is the first match and I’m happy because the team worked hard.

“Naturally we have to improve but it is logical after one week of training,”

Ancelotti was also not afraid to try out different players in different roles with Ozil and new signing Isco forming a partnership in midfield.

He added: “It was an experiment, but I believe quality players can play together. It is important to find a balance between attack and defence, which is the most difficult thing.

“I think we need time for that and we will eventually get there.”

Insigne: I will never play for Juventus

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Gaston Ramirez agent cools Inter links

As Italian reports of interest from the Nerazzurri circle, the Southampton attacking midfielder’s representative says that they would “evaluate” should a large bid be made

The agent of Southampton attacking midfielder Gaston Ramirez has denied any knowledge of a bid for his client from Inter.

The Uruguayan has only been in the Premier League for one season, making 26 appearances in the English top flight last term following a €14 million switch from Bologna.

And, despite rumours in Italy that the 22-year-old’s future could lay away from St Mary’s Stadium, his representative, Pablo Betancourt, insists that the player has no desire to discuss a potential move until an Inter approach has been confirmed.

He told Ilsussidiario.net: “I have not personally had any contact with Inter but there could well have been discussions between the clubs.

“Should it be possible? I’m convinced that everything can be done if there is the money to do it. For Ramirez, the English side made a big sacrifice, so if Inter like him they will have to pay a big sum.

“Italy is in Ramirez’s heart but I don’t like talking about things that are not concrete. Should there be an offer, then we will evaluate.”

Ramirez, who has been capped on 20 occasions by Uruguay, scored five goals for Southampton last season.