Will Gunners target be leaving Santiago Bernabeu for the Emirates Stadium this summer?
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The contract renewal of Real Madrid defender Pepe has again reached an impasse.
Chelsea and Manchester City now have further competition from Arsenal for his signature.
Arsene Wenger wants him for next season and so has asked his board to make an offer, which could reach to 30 million euros (what Real Madrid paid for him to Porto in 2006).
His contract ends in June 2012 and Los Merengues will not accept Pepe’s demands (he has requested €4 million per year and they are only willing to offer €3.5m).
Pepe currently earns €1.8 million, and is one of the lowest salaries on the Real Madrid roster.
Pepe’s salary at Real Madrid is low for a reason: when he signed for the club in July 2007, he gave up a large part of his weekly wage to help push through his transfer.
Real Madrid were reluctant to meet Porto’s €30m asking price, but Pepe was so keen to move to the Santiago Bernabeu that he was willing to lose out financially – and he earns about £29,000 per week.
Now he is approaching the end of his deal – and has helped pay off his own transfer fee – it seems reasonable to bring him in line with the rest of the Real Madrid squad.
Not so in the board’s eyes.
A fantastic defender who is both physically dominant and capable of playing the ball on the ground, at the age of 27 Pepe still has at least 5 years at the top level.
However, Real Madrid are being hugely optimistic if they truly believe they can extract a fee of around £25m for a player whose contract has just 12 months remaining, and will likely make a significant loss on the player.
Manchester City are strong defensively these days, and Chelsea have just invested up to £26m in David Luiz, so the clubs AS mention as prospective suitors aside from the Gunners seem wayward guesses.
Still, a move to Arsenal may be on the cards – but certainly not at that price.
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