It's no secret that Napoli are looking for a defensive midfielder, and have been for some time. With the Javier Mascherano links hopefully gone for good, we'll start seeing some new names soon, as well as a re-emergence of old ones.
One such "old" name is that of Sandro, Tottenham Hotspurs' Brazilian midfielder Sandro, who's been lightly linked with Napoli a few times over the past month, but never anything that seemed too serious. Now, though, England's Daily Mirror is reporting that Napoli are prepared to make an offer off approximately €10 million, and noted Italian rumor monger Gianluca di Marzio indicates that the offer has already been made and rejected.
Both sources state that Tottenham's President Daniel Levy is holding out for at least twice that much, which isn't surprising considering that he's one of the few men in football considered worse to deal with than Lyon's president. We all remember how that went.
€20 million is kind of a hard to assess sum for Sandro. Before about eighteen months ago, he was one of the best holding midfielders in England, and was starting to become a regular in the Brazilian national team. Then he tore his ACL, struggled with form fitness for the first half of this past season, missed more time after another injury, and never really seemed to fit in under a new manager after he finally got healthy again.
Before his injury, €20 million might have been a steal for Sandro, given that even now he's just 25 years old and on reasonable wages. Now, though, it's harder to assess, because we can't be sure yet if he'll actually go back to being the boss of the midfield that he once was. If Napoli's staff are sure that he can at least get back close to his previous form, it's worth the effort, but that's a pretty big risk to take for a club without oilbucks or England's massive TV deal money to back them.
Given that Tottenham have shown an interest of late in Valon Behrami, whose talks with Inter Milan seem to have stalled, perhaps something can be figured out between the two clubs. Probably not a straight player swap as those aren't terribly common outside of Italy, but perhaps something like if Napoli were to pay full price for Sandro, but Tottenham beat Inter's offer for Behrami by a certain amount.
It's hard not to be enticed by the idea, though. As a longtime Liverpool fan, being able to see Sandro and Jorginho as a modern day version of the Mascherano-Xabi Alonso pairing from the glory days of the Rafa Benitez era at Anfield is a mouth-watering proposition.