Chelsea have offered Fernando Torres to Napoli in a £34 million player-plus-cash bid for Edinson Cavani, Goal has learned.
The big-spending Londoners have indicated in discussions with the Serie A club that they are willing to pay £34.1m in cash plus offer Torres in part-exchange for the prolific Uruguayan.
But Napoli are holding out for a greater cash sum that is close to Cavani's £53.8m release clause as Real Madrid prepare to enter the race for one of Europe's hottest properties.
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Cavani also tops Chelsea's shortlist after they missed out on Radamel Falcao, who joined Monaco for £50m earlier in June.
However, in an echo of their pursuit of Falcao, the Premier League club are reluctant to pay a club record cash sum for the Napoli star.
Chelsea are willing to listen to offers for Torres this summer, although returning Blues manager Jose Mourinho said on Monday that nothing will be decided until he holds talks with the Spaniard upon his return from international duty at the Confederations Cup.
This paves the way for Madrid to blow Chelsea and Manchester City, who have offered £25.5m plus Edin Dzeko to Napoli in part-exchange for Cavani, out of the water.
It is believed that Los Blancos are preparing a mammoth offer for the forward after holding talks with the player's representatives.
The Uruguayan has made little secret of his desire to play for Madrid or Barcelona, although he has insistedthat he will not discuss his Napoli future until after he has played in the Confederations Cup with Uruguay.
“Everything is uncertain at the moment. Today I have a contract with Napoli, but on the other hand there are some conversations going on and now things are a bit dynamic," he told OMNISPORT.
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Napoli want a bidding war for their prize asset as they hold out for a fee close to Cavani's buy-out clause.
"Cavani has a contract for another four years and a buy-out clause worth €63m (£53m)," De Laurentiis wrote on Twitter in a question-and-answer session in early June.
"We have received many offers for Cavani but all of them were much lower than the buy-out clause."
Cavani is one of the most highly sought-after centre forwards in the world following three prolific seasons at Napoli, which have yielded an astonishing 102 goals in 124 matches for the club in all competitions.
De Laurentiis has publicly insisted that Napoli will replace their star man with another proven striker if they are forced into selling him.
Despite manager Rafael Benitez's successful working relationship with Torres, most memorably at Liverpool, it is understood that he would prefer to sign Dzeko ahead of the Spain international.
However, Napoli's preference is to hold out for a cash fee for Cavani and use some of the proceeds to recruit the striker of their choice.