Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz, who is a transfer target for Real Madrid and Barcelona, reportedly favours a summer transfer to La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid.
According to a report from Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Napoli’s Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz is ready to snub a transfer to Barcelona and Real Madrid in favour a switch to current La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.
Ruiz, since leaving Real Betis for Napoli in 2018, has grown into one of the top performers in his position in Serie A. A regular for the Spanish national team as well, the 24-year-old is in high demand heading into the summer transfer window, with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid vying for his signing.
It is no secret that Barcelona are in the market for a new central midfielder heading into the summer with Georginio Wijnaldum being heavily linked with a transfer all through the past seven or eight months. And while his availability on a free transfer would certainly appeal, someone like Ruiz could prove to be a more beneficial signing for the Catalans.
A technically gifted player, at 24, Ruiz still has his best years ahead of him and would also bring in an additional creative presence in the middle of the park, something that Wijnaldum will not. In addition, with Miralem Pjanic on the wrong side of the thirties and Riqui Puig not getting enough game time, the Napoli ace can be a fine addition to the Barcelona midfield.
Real Madrid have more pressing concerns with regard to their midfield unit as Luka Modric is in the final phase of his career while Toni Kroos is also into his thirties. Throw in the fact that Isco has not been a regular under Zinedine Zidane and Martin Odegaard’s uncertain future, another creative midfielder would be a welcome addition at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ruiz, to that end, would be a viable target for the reigning Spanish champions. However, Real Madrid, as well as Barcelona, may well fail in their pursuit of the Spanish international as the midfielder would prefer moving to their rivals Atletico Madrid instead.
The Rojiblancos had made an attempt to sign him last summer following the exit of Thomas Partey but a move did not materialise. Now that Saul Niguez could be on his way out of the club, a new central midfielder could become a necessity for Diego Simeone & co., more so with Marcos Llorente also being linked with an exit amid interest from Manchester United.
So, Atletico are set to rekindle their interest in Ruiz again this year and the midfielder himself is said to prefer a move to the Wanda Metropolitano. With his contract set for expiry in 2023, and Napoli looking likely to miss out on Champions League football for next season, the Partenopei may be forced into cashing in on him in the summer.
It now remains to be seen whether Barcelona or Real Madrid are able to swoop for Ruiz or if he ends up snubbing them to secure a transfer to Atletico.