Real Madrid to make two winter signings

MADRID - Spanish champions Real Madrid are close to signing two young players to reinforce the squad through the January transfer window, club president Ramon Calderon said.

"You want headlines and I'm going to give you them," Calderon (pictured) told Radio Marca.

"We are going to make two good signings in the month of December. I don't know their names because that is (sports director Predrag) Mijatovic's domain, but I know they are going to be young, quick, and will be able to play in the Champions League.

"We want them to be players who will stay for a long time, similar to Marcelo, Fernando Gago and Gonzalo Higuain."

The statement appeared to end the media speculation that had surrounded Real's reported interest in Inter Milan's 33-year-old striker Hernan Crespo. "I don't think he is going to come," Calderon added.

Local media have reported Real are interested in Lazio striker Mauro Zarate and Ajax's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar among others.

Real have been hit by a string of injuries to key players, the worst being to leading striker Ruud van Nistelrooy who has been ruled out for the rest of the season after knee surgery.

They have also looked short of options on the wing with Royston Drenthe struggling to provide effective cover for the injury-prone Arjen Robben.

Calderon went on to talk of plans for reinforcements at the end of the campaign.

"In May or June we are going to make two or three world class signings. I won't give names because I don't want to raise false expectations," he said.

Names linked with Real in the media have been Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo, Olympique Lyon striker Karim Benzema, Bayern Munich winger Bastian Schweinsteiger and Zenit St Petersburg forward Andrei Arshavin.

Lazio President Claudio Lotito dismissed speculation that Argentine Zarate, who has scored seven league goals since moving to Rome on loan in the close season from Qatari club Al-Sadd, will leave.

"It's all nonsense, rumours devoid of any basis. Real haven't spoken to me," Lotito was quoted as saying by Corriere dello Sport's website. "Zarate is mine."