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Rafael Benitez has targeted the QPR goalkeeper and the Serie A club are close to agreeing a deal with the player, who has also been shortlisted by the Gunners and Roma

By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Napoli are in advanced talks to sign Arsenal target Julio Cesar, Goal understands.

New manager Rafael Benitez has sanctioned a move for the QPR goalkeeper and the Serie A club will hold fresh negotiations with Cesar’s representatives on Friday.

Napoli, who bolstered their goalkeeping ranks with the signing of Rafael on Friday, are increasingly hopeful of reaching an agreement with the Brazilian and beating Arsenal and Roma to his signature.

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As revealed by Goal last month, Arsenal have held preliminary talks with QPR about signing Cesar but have stopped short of making a formal bid.

Roma have also targeted the 33-year-old after the new Giallorossi boss Rudy Garcia told the club he wanted an experienced goalkeeper for next season.

But Roma’s pursuit has been complicated by their loan swoop for Chelsea full-back Wallace, with Serie A restrictions in place about the number of non-EU players per squad. Rules prevent top-flight Italian clubs from signing more than two players each year from outside the European Union.

Rangers need to off-load Cesar from their wage bill – he is believed to earn around £80,000-a-week - as they prepare for life in the Championship.

As reported by Goal, Arsenal had been willing to match Cesar’s Rangers salary and offer a two-year contract with the option of a third year.

But Napoli are now in pole position to capture the Brazil No.1 and, like Arsenal, can offer Champions League football next season to Cesar, who is available for a nominal fee of little more than £1 million.

Roma are still in the market for a new No.1 to replace Maarten Stekelenburg, who joined Fulham earlier this month.

The Giallorossi are eyeing up Palermo keeper Stefano Sorrentino, 34, and Napoli’s Morgan De Sanctis, 36, as alternatives to Cesar.

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