Chelsea yet to agree £49.3m deal with Napoli for Edinson Cavani - but talks set to begin
The west London club have moved ahead of Manchester City and Real Madrid in the hunt for the striker's services
Chelsea appear to be showing their intent for the season ahead after it was claimed that they had agreed a fee of £49.3m for Napoli striker Edinson Cavani.
The figure is one that Manchester City, the club often considered most boisterous with their expenditure, were revealed to have baulked at just a matter of days ago.
The Evening Standard report that talk of a deal already being agreed is premature, but the Blues are hopeful of securing the 26-year-old's signature.
Talks are expected to open this week over a possible move but there could be contention over the transfer fee. Napoli are demanding his release clause figure of £53m, £3.7m more than the deal reportedly on the table.
It's understood that Rafael Benitez, who is now in charge of Napoli, is believed to want Blues midfielder Ramires to move in the opposite direction as part of a player-plus-cash deal.
However, Ramires has already revealed that new Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has assured him he will be part of the squad in the coming season.
That Chelsea have emerged as the front-runner for last season's Serie A top scorer was revealed by Napoli radio station Radio Marte. It was announced last night: "We have received news in the office from a very reliable source that Napoli have sealed a deal with Chelsea for Cavani's sale."
Radio Marte claim that Benitez, ironically Chelsea's interim-manager last season, has sanctioned the sale although a deal is yet to be finalised.
"Rafa Benitez also gave the all-clear, but before making the move official Napoli want to secure the striker who will replace Il Matador.
"(Napoli president) Aurelio De Laurentiis' club will pick up around €58m (£49.3m), a slight discount on the buy-out clause, which is the same situation as Ezequiel Lavezzi to PSG last year.
"The player will earn €8.5m (£7.2m) per season plus image rights."
Should Cavani switch to Stamford Bridge, according to Napoli president De Laurentiis - the man who said Manchester City has refused to meet their valuation of the Uruguay international - it will happen sooner rather than later. The Italian team are eager to be given time to rebuild.
"I don't think Cavani will leave on August 10. I'm confident in him because I consider him a real man. He won't make a joke of me," De Laurentiis told Radio Rai.
"Should Cavani want to leave, he will decide it after a long period of reflection. We will know everything by July 20. If not, I'll smack him!"
Cavani has also been linked to Real Madrid, which is his preferred destination according to his father. Should he end up at Chelsea, it will lead to speculation over the future of Fernando Torres, who in turn has been linked with a move the other way to link up once more with Benitez.
But Torres feels he should no longer be regarded as a Chelsea flop and wants to stay at Stamford Bridge. The Spain international will discuss his future with Mourinho when he reports for pre-season training next month.
Torres, who enjoyed his best season since his record-breaking £50m move from Liverpool in 2011, said: "I am happy with how I'm playing. Things are getting back to normal for me. I feel great."
Meanwhile, PSV Eindhoven have begun negotiations with Chelsea over the sale of Jeffrey Bruma.
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