Disappointing as it may be for Napoli supporters to hear, Simone Verdi’s decision to decline a big January move to the San Paolo in favor of staying at Bologna was justified.
After days of stalling, finally, the Partenopei had received their answer early Monday morning from transfer target Simone Verdi on whether he would move to Naples this month – and it wasn’t the one they wanted.
Sky Sports journalist Gianluca Di Marzio broke the news on Twitter that the 25-year old Italian would not be making a January switch to the San Paolo after all, instead opting to remain committed to the cause at Bologna under manager Roberto Donadoni for the time being.
Verdi, who has tallied six goals and five assists in 20 league appearances for the Rossoblu this term, was widely considered the ideal candidate for manager Maurizio Sarri who would’ve enjoyed the luxury of deploying the former Milan youth product just about anywhere across the attacking line.
Perhaps more important than anything else, Verdi’s arrival would’ve eased the pressure Sarri’s faced in recent years over his rotational strategy as he could afford the likes of Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon a breather without skipping much a beat. This would have provided much needed insurance for the preferred trident in what hopes to be a title-winning season, but maybe that is where Verdi had the most doubt.
Despite the increased salary and Sarri reportedly phoning the journeyman attacker throughout the negotiations with certain guarantees pertaining to playing time, the Tuscan-born tactician’s track record with regards to rotating and giving reserves minutes perhaps felt like a slight risk for Verdi’s own personal development. For Verdi, there is plenty to like in a move to Napoli, however people tend to forget the human element of football, the one where thinking with your heart is often better than acting on the dollar amount received or grander stage presented.
The general public seems split on his decision to reject the reported €24 million move, as for a player like Verdi who has traveled all over Italy, may be passing on a once in a lifetime opportunity to play a big role for a title contender. Reuniting with Sarri, who many credit for Verdi’s turnaround while at Empoli, feels like a no-brainer, but as time went on, his silence was concerning, and the hesitancy shown to make a decision led many to believe he wasn’t as convinced of the move as we were.
Although Napoli must be slightly chapped over missing out on the opportunity to bring in Verdi this month to assist in a title run, you have to respect his decision to show commitment to those who had shown the most trust in him over his turbulent playing career – including Donadoni and the supporters at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.
Perhaps this isn’t the outcome Napoli had envisioned several weeks ago when sporting director Cristiano Guintoli and president Aurelio De Laurentiis first courted Verdi’s signature. But football, much like life itself, doesn’t always go according to plan, which is why having a Plan B to fall back on is always best practice.
Maybe sacrificing the love, joy and relationship with his current role at Bologna for a bigger move and wage did not feel like a fair trade off. Only Verdi and his inner circle know. Nonetheless, this verdict throws a wrench into Napoli’s plans, and we now await their next move.