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2017 Summer Mercato Review: Napoli

Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

While other top teams around Europe splashed the cash this summer, Napoli stayed true to its current squad.

Of course, the Partenopei added a few pieces, but they were economical buys and respectfully, not big stars. The Italian giants finished in third last year, but are dubbed as the club that will challenge Juventus for the Scudetto this year. Many fans question Napoli’s approach because of this expectation.

Before diving into the Azzurri’s transfer window, here are the club’s key arrivals and departures.

*Transfer fees according to transfermarkt.com

Key Arrivals:

Adam Ounas (forward): €10 million from Bordeaux in Ligue 1

Mario Rui (defender): €3.75 million on loan from AS Roma

Roberto Inglese (forward): €10 million from Chievo Verona

*Napoli purchased Inglese from Chievo, but loaned him right back to the club. The forward will spend the new season at Chievo.

Key Departures:

Duvan Zapata (forward): €3 million loan to Sampdoria

*The loan for Zapata will turn into a complete purchase next season. Napoli will receive another €17 million, so the total will come out to €20 million.

Ivan Strinic (defender): €2 million to Sampdoria

Leonardo Pavoletti (forward): on loan to Cagliari and will become permanent transfer for €10 million next season.

Analyzing Arrivals and Departures

The arrival of Mario Rui surprised some fans, but in the end it made sense. With Strinic leaving to Sampdoria, Napoli needed a backup left-back and they got that in Rui. The deal, like many others that club President Aurelio De Laurentiis signs off on, was inexpensive. The Portuguese fullback played sparingly at Roma last season due to a major knee injury. However, the 26-year-old has a lot to offer and is familiar with playing under manager Maurizio Sarri. Like Strinic, Rui can pass the ball at a high level and does well in his defensive role.

The Partenopei’s move for Adam Ounas also raised some questions from followers of the Serie A and the club itself. With Napoli possessing the most prolific attack in the league last season, many thought it was strange to add another attacker rather than strengthen the defense. The move was done to add depth to the wing position, and so far it looks to be beneficial.

NAPLES, ITALY – AUGUST 10: Adam Ounas of SSC Napoli in action during the pre-season friendly match between SSC Napoli and Espanyol at Stadio San Paolo on August 10, 2017 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

The young Algerian seemed to have fit in immediately throughout Napoli’s preseason. Ounas scored a spectacular goal in a friendly against Chievo in June and picked up a couple of assists along the way in a strong preseason. The 20-year-old hasn’t made his Serie A debut yet, but that will change soon. Ounas sports a lethal left-foot and can really cause trouble if he develops under Sarri’s system.

The most surprising move of the transfer window came on Deadline Day for the Stadio San Paolo club. Napoli signed striker, Roberto Inglese from Chievo and loaned him right back out to the club.

The signing could make sense for the future in some ways. Duvan Zapata departed the club for Sampdoria on loan, but will move to Northern Italy permanently next season. Failed project, Leonardo Pavoletti also left the club on a loan deal to Cagliari with a permanent move next season. With only two strikers on the depth chart in Dries Mertens and Arkadiusz Milik, Inglese could be called upon next season. However, some fans see the Inglese move as an investment to flip for profit.

Overall Reaction

Will Napoli’s lack of activity in the transfer window deal a heavy blow to their Serie A title chances?Although many fans and watchers may say yes, it may not be the case.

Napoli’s mission coming into the 2017-2018 season was to keep its core together to continue its amazing chemistry. The club shielded off offers for star hometown boy Lorenzo Insigne and central defender, Kalidou Koulibaly. It also made sure that Dries Mertens stayed put for at least another year.

Of course, upgrading at the goalkeeper position and adding another defender may have improved the team. Pepe Reina isn’t the same young goalkeeper as he once was, and the Partenopei’s defense proved to be shaky at times last year.

However, fans should remember that Napoli only really struggled last year when Milik tore his ACL. The injury taught them that Mertens is capable of being a prolific striker. Without any hiccups this season, the club should be able to close in on Juventus.

Keeping the club the same and keeping the gel stuck together made this summer transfer window a success for the Partenopei.

Grade: B

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