Real Madrid, Napoli star intensifying transfer talks this winter

MAPEI STADIUM, REGGIO EMILIA, EMILIA ROMAGNA, ITALY - 2019/12/22: Napoli's Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz (L) fights for the ball with Sassuolo's Ivorian midfielder Hamed Junior Traore during the Italian Serie A football match US Sassuolo vs SSC Napoli.Napoli won 2-1. (Photo by Pietro Mosca/KONTROLAB/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MAPEI STADIUM, REGGIO EMILIA, EMILIA ROMAGNA, ITALY - 2019/12/22: Napoli's Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz (L) fights for the ball with Sassuolo's Ivorian midfielder Hamed Junior Traore during the Italian Serie A football match US Sassuolo vs SSC Napoli.Napoli won 2-1. (Photo by Pietro Mosca/KONTROLAB/LightRocket via Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid have been linked closely with Napoli center midfielder Fabian Ruiz, and it appears their interest continues to grow despite the strong performances they have received in midfield.

Already linked with a 55 million euro deal for Ajax’s Donny van de Beek and constantly whispered in deals for Paul Pogba, Real Madrid also have a great deal of interest in young Spanish center midfielder Fabian Ruiz.

Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos’ former teammate at Real Betis, Ruiz has been the much more impressive of the two players this season for both club and country. So it comes as no surprise that Real have been mentioned as suitors for the Napoli star, especially amidst rivaling interest from FC Barcelona.

Per a report from Sergio Santos and Mirko Calemme of AS, Ruiz “has his heart set” on signing with Madrid next summer. AS also says that Madrid and the Napoli midfielder’s representatives are intensifying discussions this winter.

Napoli are at serious risk of failing to qualify for the Champions League next season, and they have already fired legendary manager Carlo Ancelotti, who has won the Champions League multiple times, out of desperation.

Clearly, Napoli want to keep a talented 23-year-old midfield maestro like Ruiz at all costs, but he’s resisted due to his interest in Real. Despite heavy interest from Barca, Los Blancos look like the odds-on favorites if Napoli are forced to sell.

The price tag is another issue entirely. While Real are interested in Ruiz and probably favor him over Christian Eriksen and the more expensive Paul Pogba, it’s unclear if they value him more than van de Beek. It’s also unclear if they’d be willing to part ways with the necessary cash, since they need to save up for Kylian Mbappe, whom they believe they can sign next summer.

Next. Toni Kroos' ridiculous Champions League form. dark

Ruiz has one goal and two assists this season with a 90.5% passing accuracy, per WhoScored.com so his playing style would be most comparable to Toni Kroos’ when looking at players in the squad. While Ruiz isn’t nearly on Kroos’ level, he could develop into a star one day, so that’s why Los Blancos are so interested in getting something done next summer.