Real chairman rules out January signings

Real Madrid chairman Florentino Perez has told coach Jose Mourinho he cannot sign a new striker in the January transfer window to cover for the injured Gonzalo Higuain, Marca said today.

The Portuguese coach is concerned that with Higuain ruled out for at least another two months he has only Cristiano Ronaldo and the out-of-form French striker Karim Benzema to rely on up front.

But Perez believes that "with Benzema, Cristiano, Higuain from March and the pool [of players], there is more than enough," the Spanish daily quoted him as saying. "There'll be no signings," Perez said.

Higuain is to undergo surgery in the USA to fix a slipped disc that has already kept him out of action since late November, Real announced on Thursday. The 23-year-old Argentinian has been first choice ahead of Benzema under Mourinho.

Mourinho has said that he will have to re-construct his team in the absence of Higuain, who was signed from River Plate in 2007.

The club also announced yesterday that defender Pepe will be sidelined for one month after tearing a muscle in his left calf. Real are second in the league, two points behind arch-rivals Barcelona.