The race to sign Fabian Ruiz is heating up.
Real Madrid have joined the pursuit after holding talks with the Napoli midfielder in order to persuade him to move to the Santiago Bernabeu next summer, sources told Rodrigo Faez and Alex Kirkland of ESPN FC.
After those talks and a meeting in October, Ruiz is believed to favor a move to the Spanish capital over potentially joining a Manchester City team he’s been linked with as well.
To complete a move for the 23-year-old, Madrid would likely have to offer Napoli a fee in the region of €80 million-€100 million, Faez and Kirland added.
However, Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis is a notoriously difficult negotiator, and the Italian side could demand an even higher fee.
“I paid €30 million for Fabian and he’s a fantastic player,” De Laurentiis said in October, according to the Guardian’s Fabrizio Romano. “If some of the European top clubs were to offer €180 million, we can start talking about selling him.”
Manchester City reportedly sent a scout to watch the versatile midfielder – who can play centrally or on the left – during Napoli’s Champions League clash with RB Salzburg.
The reigning Premier League champions apparently view Ruiz as a possible replacement for David Silva, who announced that he will leave City at the end of the season after almost 10 years at the Etihad Stadium.
Ruiz was named the player of the tournament at last summer’s European Under-21 Championship with Spain. He’s flourished at Napoli since his €30-million (£25.5 million) transfer from Real Betis in 2018.