Real open Roma talks
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Spanish daily Marca suggests that Real will try and pull off an audacious raid to take Walter Samuel, Emerson and Francesco Totti from the financially-stricken Serie A giants.
Los Merengues have admitted that they have opened talks with their Italian counterparts, but remained coy over their targets.
"Nobody from Real Madrid has travelled to Roma, but yes it is certain that we are holding talks with the aim of reaching an agreement, but I can't say any more," a Real spokesperson told Marca.
It had seemed last week that Argentine international defender Samuel was set for a summer move to Chelsea, but Real are now ready to move to hijack any deal.
Madrid's need for defensive reinforcements is well-documented with the club's trophy aspirations being undermined this season by a lack of strength in depth at the heart of their rearguard.
Los Galacticos were forced to shuffle Ivan Helguera, Raul Bravo, Francisco Pavon and Alvaro Mejia as their central defensive options this term, and now want an established defensive performer to bolster the squad which is top-heavy with attacking talent.
Reports claim any deal for Samuel would cost in the region £8-10 million, but that the player would prefer a move to Spain over England.
Real have also unquestionably felt the loss of Claude Makelele this term, and the chance to clinch a cut-price deal for Brazilian midfielder Emerson could prove very tempting.
The former Bayer Leverkusen star will be out of contract at the end of next season and Roma need to sell him this summer in order to avoid losing him for nothing in 12 months.
Roma would be loathe to lose three of their major players in one fell swoop, but there is little doubt that Totti is a long-term target of the Real top-brass.
The Italian international perfectly fits the mould of a 'galactico', and Real director of sport Jorge Valdano has admitted the club would dearly love to bring the forward to Spain.
"Anybody would like Totti in their team. I won't say any more," he is reported to have stated regarding the current crop of rumours.
The possible sale of Totti is sure to cause huge unrest amongst Roma fans for whom the 27-year-old is an idol, and symbol of the club.
The Italians would undoubtedly demand a figure in the region of £30 million for Totti, but would be likely to want players in exchange with Fernando Morientes - a long-term target of boss Fabio Capello - sure to be top of their list.
Real fans are demanding the introduction of big-names stars this summer following a disappointing campaign that has seen them surrender the Primera title to Valencia, and the Roma triumvirate would certainly appease supporters.