The wheels of transfer rumors keep on turning, turning turning, and Napoli is no more immune to them than any other club. Rumors abound of players coming and going, so without further ado, let's wrap up some of the more notable whispers making their way around.
Despite a fervent denial from his manager that the French midfielder has not been approached and is not for sale, Gonalons himself spoke to Olympique Lyon's official TV station about a potential move.
"When there are big European clubs like Napoli who want you, it’s necessary to ask questions. Everyone knows Napoli are interested in me. Many things have been said about this, some of them true and others false, so we must be careful. It is true that we’ll discuss it with the President and the Coach next week to find the best solution, then we’ll see what happens. I can’t say any more than that right now, as it’s necessary for all the parties to be satisfied."
-Translated quote viaFootball Italia
It's still believed by many that a deal has been arranged between the two clubs, and that an announcement could come as soon as later tonight after the match.
Potentially throwing a spanner in the works of any potential Gonalons deal is this tidbit of noted rumor-slinger Tancredi Palmeri:
Napoli have reached an agreement for half owning 50% of Nainggolan from Cagliari, according to tomorrow Gazzetta. Now up to the player— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) January 5, 2014
Obviously, most folks like Palmeri are wrong a lot more often than they're right. This particular rumor passes a couple different smell tests, however. Nainggolan fits the current Napoli midfield structure a little better given that he has much greater abilities going forward than a player like Gonalons does. Also, by working out a co-ownership arrangement the club would be able to save a little bit of money for this transfer window compared to the reported €13 million fee agreed with Lyon. This is a rumor of the "I'll believe it when the press conference is over" variety, but Napoli could do a whole lot worse than to bring in Nainggolan.
Various sources report that Rafa Benitez has rejected a potential move for Genoa left back Luca Antonelli, preferring instead to pursue Domenico Criscito, whom we've previously discussed as a potential target. As a left back who can play in the middle in a pinch, Criscito seems like a good fit for Napoli, and the fact that he's been rumored to want to return to Italian shores off and on for the last year only gives this a stronger case. He'd probably be more expensive than Antonelli (Zenit St. Petersburg aren't known for selling on the cheap), but he'd also likely be the best left back available for Napoli to pursue this winter.
After numerous rumors tried to link Inler with a move away this summer, some are starting to believe that he will leave this month if Napoli does indeed bring in another midfielder. That would be counter-productive as depth is what Napoli needs as much as quality, but it would be understandable if the Swiss midfielder wanted to leave under such circumstances.
What doesn't make any sense, though, is the rumored destination de jour: Manchester United. The defending Premier League champions certainly could use another midfielder of his ilk, but they reportedly have little in the way of a transfer budget, and are well out of England's Champions League places and starting to look as though they'll only fade more as the season progresses. Adding Inler's status as cap-tied in the Champions League only makes such a move make less and less sense.
Juan Camilo Zuniga
Napoli's wounded Colombian is still making his way back from injury, but has been the subject of repeated transfer rumors over the last month, most notably to Barcelona. Supposedly his new contract, signed just three months ago, includes a release clause for a few specific clubs, including the Spanish giants, with a much lower price than the €35 million his full release clause is reported to be, and the Catalan club wants to trigger it.
There's really not much reason to think that this one pans out, however. With Zuniga having been out for the last two and a half months with injury, Barca would likely prefer someone who's been playing more to fill in holes in their roster. Also, like Inler, Zuniga is cap-tied for the Champions League, so is a less-likely option for a club still in that competition.