REAL CLOSING IN ON ZANETTI CAPTURE
By Nic Evans
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The massive transfer of Zinedine Zidane for a world record £48 million was in part to give the Santiago Bernabeu faithful a season of exciting football to look forward to, although it is in defence that many felt Real needed to improve.
The right wing back position was seen as the weak link in Real's illustrious line-up, with Michel Salgado along with Geremi failing to make it their own.
Zanetti's reported link-up with the Spanish club has been well documented this summer, but Real's director of football, Jorge Valdano, is looking to accelerate his personnel plans, with pre-season about to begin.
The Argentinian fits into the plans of Real as he can also be the back-up to Roberto Carlos on the left-flank.
Real are negotiating a deal worth around 4,000 million pesetas (£14.73 million), although the Spanish club are hoping to reduce this.
Hector Cuper, the new Inter, coach wants Zanetti to stay but it seems he faces a tough battle to keep him.
Zanetti's agent, Jorge Oliva, is currently in Buenos Aires, although it has been stated if Real cannot complete the deal, the player will use the many English clubs interested in him to force a transfer.
Personal terms are believed to be holding up a quicker settlement, although Real are certain to make much more in commercial interests from South America if they buy Zanetti.
If Real buy Zanetti, it will end their interest in Deportivo La Coruna's Manuel Pablo, and it seems they are close to securing the transfer.
Zanetti told Marca: "I don't want to pre-empt events. Cuper has said he wants me and I do not know what my future will be.
"Firstly there has to be an agreement between both teams.
"I am a player who gives everything and can contribute many things."
Oliva admitted: "What we are waiting for is Real Madrid. We are hoping Real can close the deal.
"There is still time to make the transfer, but we would have to hurry because there are English teams interested in him."
Along with his European experience, Zanetti has also advanced to become the captain of Inter and his leadership is another quality Real want.