De Laurentiis has been onto it for quite some time now. Napoli owning its own stadium has been more than just an idea for the past year, with our beloved president in open talks with Naples City Council and its Sport Committee. Napoli owning its own stadium would bring huge benefits to the club, first and foremost a sizeable increase in revenue, which is going to be crucial if the club plans to stay at the highest levels, competing with the best in Italy and Europe.
It is no surprise to anyone that Aurelio plans to make the club one of the best in the world and if there ever was someone able to accomplish just that, it’s him. He bought SSC Napoli just after the scandal of 2004, when the club had gone bankrupt and the team had been relegated in Serie C. In just 4 years he brought the team back to Serie A, 3 years later bringing it through the group stages of the Champion’s League (the first president to do so after the "Maradona" era) barely losing to Chelsea which would then go on to win the whole competition. In Serie A, Napoli has finished in the top 5 for the past 3 years, finishing 2nd last year having to give up against a stellar Juventus.
Napoli is now the 4th most valuable team in Italy and 17th in Europe according to Forbes, quite the achievement from De Laurentiis if you ask me. And the club is also free of any debt, a feat that is made even more remarkable when you think that of the top 20 teams in Europe, it is matched only by 3 other clubs (Chelsea, Schalke 04 and Newcastle United). So the next step that will bring Napoli to the top and consolidate it as one of the best in the world is owning its own stadium.
The legendary San Paolo is an old and outdated facility, owned by the city of Naples and in desperate need of renovation. And it isn’t the only thing that is outdated either. Italian laws on soccer facilities aren’t helping Italian clubs who that are trying to buy their own facilities. As of right now only Udinese and Juventus own their own stadium while the rest have stumbled across various speed bumps. For the past year De Laurentiis has tried to buy the San Paolo but reaching an agreement has proven to be a much harder task than he thought. During the summer he even brought up the idea of building a new stadium in the neighboring province of Caserta if he couldn’t buy the San Paolo for a reasonable price.
Recent events have brought both parties much closer, and even Italian lawmakers have drawn their attention towards the Serie A and its cry for help. There is renewed hope that things will soon change for the better and that the Italian championship can return to be one of the best in the world, and Napoli at the top of it.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Would you prefer that San Paolo be renovated or would you like a new facility to become Napoli’s future home? And if so, how you would you name it?