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Napoli Blogger On April - 14 - 2011

Napoli Notizie: Time For Forward Thinking?

With Napoli involved in a Scuddeto race and a battle for Champions League qualification it may not be the best time to start thinking of next season but that hasn’t stopped Aurelio De Laurentiis this week claiming what the clubs transfer policy will be this summer, two midfielders and striker Tim Matavz.

A bold statement from Aurellio but a statement he can afford to make considering much of the work for next season has been done this year…

In the last Transfer window Napoli had already agreed to sign Victor Ruiz from Espanyol in Spain, he joined the squad with immediate effect. Napoli also agreed to sign Argentine centre back Federico Fernández from Estudiantes de La Plata in Argentina. It already appears Napoli have concluded transfer business for the defensive side of the squad and should look like this. Paolo Cannavaro, Hugo Campagnaro, Victor Ruiz, Federico Fernandez, Gianluca Grava and Fabiano Santacroce.

So what of the rest of the squad?

De Laurentiis announced this week Napoli had secured the signing of highly rated FC Groningen centre forward Matavz (although no confirmation from the Dutch club). A Slovenian international striker who has scored 15 goals in the Eredivisie so far this season. His arrival will at least give some sort of like for like back-up for top striker Edinson Cavani next season. So long as nobody is sold this is should be how Napoli shape up at the business end of the pitch next season; Ezequiel Lavezzi, Cavani, Guiseppe Mascara, Matavz and Cristiano Lucarelli

The only area of the team which remains a mystery for next season is the midfield. So many question remain about the players already in the squad this season. Michele Pazienza who may not be a favourite but has been a first choice player under Walter Mazzarri will find himself out of contract at the end of the season and, with no sign of a contract renewal forthcoming, this looks like it leaves Napoli one man short. Gargano’s future has been thrown into doubt after a very poor second half of the season which has seen him dropped after a string of poor performances. He has been with the club since the 07/08 season but this his worst spell at the club. Hassan Yebda who arrived on Benfica on loan with an option to purchase has had a slow start to his Napoli career but since the winter break has came on leaps and bounds and has done enough I believe to earn a permanent move. He wants to stay at Napoli and his very happy in the city ‘Naples is a city I love very much and its people’. He would arrive for around €3,000,000 on a permanent deal from Benfica, a bargain based on current performances.

So what are Napoli’s alternatives for midfield? Udinese midfielder Gokhan Inler is a player Napoli are constantly linked with, its almost tedious, however talks are scheduled to take place at the end of the season to see if a deal can be brokered. Napoli still own Luca Cigarini who is on loan at Sevilla, could he make a return? This past week even saw reports of Andrea Pirlo being linked to Napoli but the wage structure at Napoli means this is an instant no no.

Now the elephant in the room. What of Marek Hamsik? The Mohawked assassin has been linked every year to foreign shores but no concrete bids are ever made and he remains in Naples. With Manchester United and Chelsea looking to seriously upgrade ageing midfield’s is this the summer he eventually leaves for big money? Napoli don’t need the money of course and Sporting Director Riccardo Bigon would have to play a real ace hand similar to the Cavani deal to calm down unhappy Napoli fans who had been promised by De Laurentiis that he wasn’t for sale. The best chance of Hamsik staying at Napoli is if Champions League football is obtained, then he has no reason to leave and De Laurentiis will have the money from UEFA’s premier club competition to sweeten any contracts. For what its worth, there is a growing belief Hamsik will only depart if an offer comes in for him that can’t be refused. If someone is talking over €35,000,000. Aurelio couldn’t refuse that……could he?

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