Real Madrid director general Jorge Valdano is hopeful a deal to bring Jose Mourinho to the Bernabeu will be tied up early next week.
Madrid sacked Manuel Pellegrini on Wednesday night and outlined their intention to replace him with Mourinho once both they and the Portuguese had negotiated his release from Inter Milan. Those talks are ongoing although the two clubs have yet to reach a compromise on compensation with Inter maintaining their desire to receive the full €16 million (just over £13.5million) due to them under the terms of Mourinho's contract.
Inter sporting director Marco Branca stated "Inter are in no hurry" and the club "will not yield on the payment of the clause". The stalemate has resulted in a slight delay to Madrid's plans to unveil Mourinho this week with Valdano admitting: "Mourinho will arrive in Madrid, probably next week. He may arrive on Tuesday, Monday is almost impossible."
Valdano believes the coaching change was necessary after claiming Pellegrini failed in the key games. He added on national radio: "Pellegrini created a very good working environment, avoiding dressing room conflicts and he had an impeccable record in the league. But in the most important games of the season he was not able to succeed and so we decided to dismiss him."
Valdano was also adamant striker Gonzalo Higuain would not be leaving the Bernabeu despite speculation in England linking him with big-spending Manchester City. Higuain was Madrid's leading scorer in the Primera Division with 27 goals in 32 appearances in the recently-completed season and his fellow Argentinian insists he is not for sale. Valdano said: "Higuain is under contract for three more years. He has been a benchmark for others and is not available for transfer."