It has been an interesting month for Napoli as they were very active on the transfer market. Here is how the partenopei fared in this past month’s calcio mercato.
Before this season’s edition of the January transfer market, club president Aurelio De Laurentiis was quoted numerous times by many reliable news outlets as saying, “We are buying two players this January and one will be a champion.”
It is apparent that Napoli/De Laurentiis did not live up to this hype due to them having signed Alberto Grassi, Vasco Regini and Eddy Gnahore. None of which are “champions”, but do Napoli really need a “champion” right now? They have had a stellar season, and if they can stay consistently atop the Serie A table, there might even be a chance of them winning the scudetto for the third time in their history.
Napoli fans were a bit naive to think any top player was going to make the move to the vesuviani this season. Many of the players Napoli were after, like; Nikola Maksimovic, Davy Klaassen, Christophe Kramer and Andre Gomes are too important to their respective teams to just pack up and leave during the middle of the season. Also, it’s not like Napoli have the proper funds to make many huge signings, therefore it is best they wait until the summer after they’ve secured UCL qualification to splash the cash.
Signing Alberto Grassi was great, he shows a lot of promise and has already been capped by the Italy U17, U19, U20 and U21 teams. Bear in mind the fact that Alberto also comes from arguably the best youth academy in Italy, that being Atalanta. Atalanta have provided more Serie A players through their ranks than any other team on the peninsula.
Moreover, Vasco Regini was more of a panic/shrewd buy from Napoli. It was clear that a backup CB was needed, and apparently Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri specifically chose Vasco Regini to be the one ADL would spend his money on. Regini can play as a Left-Back or a Center-Back, both of which Napoli need depth in, with Ivan Strinic not really performing up to par defensively as of late. This will provide Faouzi Ghoulam much needed rest going into the most grueling months of the season, February and March, without any real drop in quality at the LB position.
Lastly, Eddy Gnahore is the most odd purchase of the three. According to multiple sources, Napoli scouts liked Eddy’s speed, strength and shooting ability. Therefore, Napoli signed the Frenchman for an undisclosed fee and loaned him immediately out to Carpi for the next two seasons.
Just as Napoli were active in making purchases this past mercato, they were also very active in offloading specific players. Firstly, Napoli sold Brazilian Center-Back Henrique back to his homeland to Fluminense for around €2m. This was smart as the player was not featuring much at all and needed to be offloaded.
Next, Napoli loaned out Camilo Zuniga to Bologna. You will not find many Napoli fans who were cynical towards Camilo, as he was always very effective when playing. However, injuries and lack of first team action are what hindered Zuniga’s play, therefore offloading the Colombian winger was necessary.
Finally, Napoli youth player Gennaro Tutino and Jacopo Dezi were both loaned out to Bari for the rest of the season. Also, Josip Radosevic was loaned out to Eibar in Spain and Jonathan De Guzman was loaned out to Carpi. All of which did not feature much at all this season under Sarri and were bound to leave.
All in all, Napoli fared sufficiently enough in the January mercato. It remains to be seen where Napoli take their transfer endeavors this upcoming off-season and where Napoli end up by the end of this season under the leadership of captain Marek Hamsik and the goals from Gonzalo Higuain.