Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis says he would welcome Javier Mascherano on loan for a season, although he is keeping an eye open for alternatives, saying he will not overpay for Lyon's Maxime Gonalons.
The Azzurri are set to invest heavily in their squad this summer in preparation for a title tilt next term and De Laurentiis is making no secret of his targets.
Gonalons was on the verge of joining in January, but his transfer fee remains a stumbling block. That too would be an obstacle to signing Mascherano, but De Laurentiis has another plan in mind for the Barcelona midfielder.
"I would have nothing against signing Mascherano, but if the whole deal were to cost us 40 million euros over three years, then I'd have to say no," De Laurentiis said at a book presentation in Rome on Tuesday.
"But we'll just have to see -- if Mascherano realises that he's not playing regularly at Barcelona, then I would hold the best cards.
"It's up to Barca. Either they want him to rot on their bench or they want to send him out on loan for a year, maybe then to return to Barcelona reinvigorated by the marvellous atmosphere here in Naples."
De Laurentiis is not only looking at the 29-year-old former Liverpool midfielder, however.
He added: "If I say to a film director 'do you want Brad Pitt for your film?', he'll say yes straight away, but maybe I spot a young actor in a TV series, find him the right role and win the jackpot three times because he's younger, I've paid less for him and maybe he would be able to do all the sequels too."
The club's pursuit of Gonalons appears trickier, though, with De Laurentiis saying he is no longer on speaking terms with his Lyon counterpart Jean-Michel Aulas.
"They would have to serve Gonalons on a silver platter now," he said. "Aulas sent me a text message, but I'm not talking to him any more.
"I spoke to him until I was blue in the face last winter. If they want to sell him, then they will have to do so on our conditions, otherwise the player can just stay where he is. His agent's one of Aulas' partners so he's got the club's interests at heart too."
De Laurentiis has nevertheless promised new faces at his club this summer, which will be positive news for coach Rafael Benitez who has regularly requested new arrivals.
"I can confirm that we want to make three new signings," said the Napoli president. "We're still a work in progress, but we're putting our faith and belief in Benitez, who is a great coach who we took a gamble on last summer."