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Arbeloa to Napoli? Rafa Benitez still digging in the Real Madrid scrap heap

Rafa Benitez is pursuing yet another fringe Real Madrid player for Napoli. Color me shocked.

Laurence Griffiths

Real Madrid and Napoli both changed managers this summer, so both are understandably in a transitional phase where they're looking to significantly reshape their squads. Rafa Benitez hasn't exactly been shy about his affinity for Madrid players and/or players that he managed at Liverpool. Spanish international fullback Alvaro Arbeloa ticks both boxes.

This was rumored last week, but it's probably meaningful that the Spanish press is picking up on the rumor as well and that an asking price is being reported. It's anyone's guess whether or not this goes anywhere, but it sounds like there's something going on here.

Money aside, the move makes sense. Rafa's moving Napoli's regular formation from using a back three to a back four, something that doesn't exactly suit Christian Maggio. The Italian wingback has spent some time as an attacking winger in preseason and hasn't been great when used in a back four over the course of his career.

Arbeloa is unlikely to be first choice at Madrid with the emergence of Daniel Carvajal, but has experience playing right and left back under Benitez in his preferred 4-2-3-1. With the World Cup coming up and a spot in the Spain squad his to lose, he's going to want to be first choice somewhere.

But then, there's that asking price. Arbeloa is a very good and versatile player, but €12m is steep for a 30-year-old fullback. Hopefully Rafa, ADL and co. don't shell out that much cash and are able to talk Madrid down quite a bit.