Carlo Ancelotti Talks James Rodriguez, Hirving Lozano Amid Napoli Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2019

SSC Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. SSC Napoli plays FC Barcelona in the LaLiga-Serie A Cup soccer match Wednesday at Hard Rock Stadium. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti has said he will speak with Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez directly if there are to be any movements on a possible transfer. 

Rodriguez has been linked with a move to the Serie A side throughout the summer, having returned to Madrid from Bayern Munich after his two-year loan spell ended in June.

Ancelotti was asked about the Colombia international on Wednesday after his team were beaten 2-1 by Barcelona in a pre-season friendly in Miami.

"I don't want to talk about James right now," he said, per Ramiro Aldunate of Marca. "It's a subject that's talked about too much. If I have to talk to him about something, I'll talk to him directly."

Rodriguez has twice worked under Ancelotti, with the duo linking up at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. With that in mind, it's not a shock to see the player mentioned as a possible target for Napoli.

The Partenopei have also been linked with a possible switch for PSV Eindhoven forward Hirving Lozano. When quizzed about a move for the Mexico international, Ancelotti was noncommittal.

"I don't know anything about Chucky Lozano," he said. "Unfortunately, the market closes on August 31. We'll see what happens."

Rodriguez may not have done enough to convince Bayern to sign him on a permanent transfer, but there's no denying he has quality. Eleven Sports looked at some of his best moments in a Real Madrid jersey:

Eleven Sports @ElevenSports_UK

| 🛑 | Manchester United have reportedly turned down a cash + James Rodriguez offer for Paul Pogba from Real Madrid. Clock ticking with the transfer window in England closing August 9th. https://t.co/onaVllleCt

A lot of those came during his time working with Ancelotti. The Italian fielded Rodriguez in his best position, behind the centre-forward, and gave him licence to express himself.

The same happened at Bayern during their only full season together, with the Colombia star showcasing his creative talents on a regular basis. When Ancelotti departed, at both Madrid and Bayern, Rodriguez's stock fell.

Lozano is a different kind of player, as he's played the majority of his football in wider positions. Even so, he has been able to consistently chip in with goals and assists for his team:

Squawka Football @Squawka

@iammoallim Hirving Lozano for PSV in Eredivisie 2018/19: • 30 games • 17 goals • 8 assists His season was cut short due to an injury. https://t.co/d6AHoAKNFD

Per FansBet, Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis said earlier in the transfer window that the duo are the team's main attacking targets:

FansBet @FansBet

Napoli president De Laurentis: "We'll bring Rodriguez in if Ancelotti wants him. If not James, it'll be Lozano, but not both of them." https://t.co/QOO6LWkaFm

Ancelotti will be keen to build a squad that is capable of challenging Juventus for the Serie A title. 

Having signed Kostas Manolas from Roma to strengthen their defense, Lozano or Rodriguez would be a fine complement to the likes of Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Arkadiusz Milik.