Napoli sit 25 POINTS behind leaders Inter as their woeful Serie A title defence continues… and with the club facing a season without Europe, Victor Osimhen and Co could look to move on to rescue their careers at the top
EuropaLeague

Napoli sit 25 POINTS behind leaders Inter as their woeful Serie A title defence continues… and with the club facing a season without Europe, Victor Osimhen and Co could look to move on to rescue their careers at the top

Mar 20, 2024

From winning their first Serie A title in over 30 years to sitting in ninth place, 25 points behind leaders Inter, and already onto their second coach of the season – all is not quite going to plan in Napoli. 

It goes far beyond the simple desire to celebrate the victory of the Scudetto, the third in the club’s history. 

Among the many errors that risk compromising the future of the team – which may not even qualify for Europe next season – are the technical errors of sporting director Mauro Meluso and President Aurelio De Laurentiis. 

The purchases made in January do not seem to be sparking the much-needed rise in the rankings, and in June, many players could ask to be sold so as not to waste part of their careers.

From champions of Italy to out of European reckoning in less than 12 months; what happened at Napoli? There have been many mistakes, and the choice of both of Luciano Spalletti’s successors – Rudi Garcia and Walter Mazzarri – has been profoundly wrong.  

Napoli are in disarray this season, struggling in the league, and down in ninth place

Napoli are in disarray this season, struggling in the league, and down in ninth place

It is a far cry from the Napoli side that won its first Serie A title in 30 years last summer

It is a far cry from the Napoli side that won its first Serie A title in 30 years last summer

Rudi Garcia took charge of Napoli in June, but was dismissed in November

Walter Mazzarri returned to Napoli in November after ten years away

Rudi Garcia (left) and Walter Mazzarri (right) have both struggled to fill the manager vacancy

Right now, Napoli lack a clear identity, with question marks hovering over their new signings including Jesper Graenge Lindstrom, Jens Cajuste and Leander Dendoncker, who joined on loan from Aston Villa last month.

Even the purchase of Pasquale Mazzocchi from Salernitana is a clear sign of a technical and tactical downsizing of a team which seems to buy players just for the fun of it.

There is no rule that obliges them to sell the best players in the event of a failure to qualify for the Champions League or the Europa League, but despite perfect accounts, Victor Osimhen and Co could look to move on and avoid going down with the ship.

VICTOR OSIMHEN: €120 MILLION (£102.6m)

Victor Osimhen’s contract at the Neapolitans was extended to 2026 back in December, but there is still the possibility of seeing the player leave both the club and Serie A this summer. 

Any club willing to spend £103.6million (€120m) will be able to buy him, and all the Italian media seem to lean towards an immediate sale, as president De Laurentiis also seems to suggest.

Nanni Moretti, an Italian director highly-regarded across Europe, has always said ‘words are important’, and De Laurentiis chose his words carefully when explaining the club’s strategies at the end of the Italian Football League Assembly. 

According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Napoli’s president said: ‘Osimhen will leave in June 2024 and Mourinho will not arrive at Napoli, something we knew’. 

Victor Osimhen will be available to anyone willing to pay Napoli's ¿120m price tag this summer

Victor Osimhen will be available to anyone willing to pay Napoli’s €120m price tag this summer

It is likely PSG are ahead of all foreign competitors as Kylian Mbappe looks to exit the club

It is likely PSG are ahead of all foreign competitors as Kylian Mbappe looks to exit the club

These are words that will generate an earthquake within a team that is currently struggling, sat squandering in an embarrassing position in the standings. 

‘The words of the Nigerian centre forward did not surprise me,’ the president added. ‘We all knew he was leaving here. The probable destinations? Real Madrid, PSG or some top Premier League club.’

Considering the imminent departure of Kylian Mbappe from the French titans, it is very likely that the Ligue 1 club is ahead of all foreign competitors for his signature.

KVARATSKHELIA: €90 MILLION (£76.9m)

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is a dream option for top English and Spanish clubs because he represents the prototype of the perfect player. 

Serious, precise and camera-shy, he never speaks against his team or against the players in front of the media. 

He rarely enjoys the Neapolitan nightlife, and thinks of football 24 hours a day as if it were a religion. 

He loves pizza and mozzarella, the typical foods of Naples, and has integrated perfectly in Italy after first experiencing football in Georgia and Russia. 

He may never repeat the 34 games, 12 goals and 10 assists he got in the season Napoli won the championship and,  perhaps harshly, this seems to penalise his financial valuation. 

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia represents the prototype of the perfect player for his love of the game

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia represents the prototype of the perfect player for his love of the game

A few months ago, Aurelio De Laurentiis would have repelled ¿150m offers for the Georgian

A few months ago, Aurelio De Laurentiis would have repelled €150m offers for the Georgian

In this unfortunate season for Napoli, after a disastrous start, Kvaratskhelia has 21 appearances, 6 goals and 3 assists, proving himself as a top player again after the problems he had under Rudi Garcia. 

Today, he would likely fetch some £76.9m (€90m) for the Georgian’s services, while a few months ago, De Laurentiis would have batted away offers closer to £128m (€150m).

It is difficult to imagine the Georgian winger staying in Italy without a place in Europe, because it would be a serious handicap for his career. He would lose exposure on the international scene, and lose valuable ground to Europe’s biggest stars in his position.  

His type of football is unique and irreplaceable, and it would not be possible to buy another player capable of adequately reproducing his talents. They would have to radically change the tactical scheme, which would make his farewell even more seismic.

ANGUISSA: €50 MILLION (£42.75m)

Cameroonian star Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa is surely one of the Premier League’s biggest regrets, moving from Fulham’s second team player to a regular starter in Napoli’s Scudetto year. 

His career was exceptional, but due to the change of coach at Napoli, his performance dropped drastically, and there was no shortage of transfer offers for him. 

His 19 appearances and 0 goals in Serie A, plus the efforts accumulated in the Africa Cup of Nations, are the perfect snapshot of a strong but not exceptional season. 

The player has suffered a decline, or perhaps he has shown his true technical value, his skill only being enhanced by Spalletti.

Anguissa is close to a non-leaver for Napoli, especially to a direct competitor like Juventus. 

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa went from being Fulham's second tier player to a regular starter at Napoli

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa went from being Fulham’s second tier player to a regular starter at Napoli

Aston Villa's Leander Dendoncker was brought in on loan to see if he could replace Anguissa

Aston Villa’s Leander Dendoncker was brought in on loan to see if he could replace Anguissa

But in June, especially without Europe, it will be almost impossible to keep him. 

According to Corriere dello Sport, Juventus sports director Cristiano Giuntoli will try to buy the African midfielder, though President De Laurentiis will try everything to avoid this, preferring to sell him abroad than open negotiations with a domestic rival.

Dendoncker was apparently brought in to cover Anguissa’s absence for the Africa Cup of Nations, but in reality, he was purchased to see if he could replace the Cameroonian next season. 

So far ‘Robocop’ Leander has proven rusty, after many substitute appearances at Aston Villa, and he will hardly be able to break into the hearts of the fans like Anguissa did.

source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *