With any hope of a Christoph Kramer deal getting done this summer looking to be dead and in the ground, Napoli are already moving on to new midfield targets. Interestingly, their first effort seems to be getting aimed straight at one Mario Suarez of Atletico Madrid.
As you may recall, early in June there was briefly a rumor that Napoli were "on the verge" of signing the 27 year old Spaniard, one that we traced back to it's rather hilarious source. Other news outlets apparently figured out the same problem with the sourcing shortly after that, and the rumors understandably dried up in a hurry.
Since then, Atletico have sold off a raft of quality players, and even with the additions they've made since then their roster for a La Liga title defense is looking a little thin. That hasn't stopped Napoli's apparent interest in Suarez, though, with Gianluca Di Marzio neophyte David Amoyal reporting that the partenopei have already had a bid rejected, and La Gazzetta dello Sport indicating that Napoli's interest continues unabated, and that their next proposal could have an interesting twist.
It's no secret that Napoli want to rid themselves of Valon Behrami, and now the club seem to want to take advantage of Atletico's interest in the Swiss international. The idea has been floated of using a Behrami swap or cut-price deal to entice Atleti to sell Suarez, though that doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense for Madrid either. They want Behrami to help boost their numbers in midfield, not to replace another departing player (and one who's better than Behrami, truth be told).
The fit for Suarez in Napoli really isn't better now than it was six weeks ago, however. Suarez is kind of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none midfielder, not the holder that Napoli have been seeking for the last year. Kramer wasn't either, to be fair, but he can do a much better job in that role than Suarez can. He lacks the positional discipline or physical toughness the role requires, and frankly his read on what the other team is doing with the ball isn't that great either. He'd be decent to keep around as a utility backup midfielder, but Napoli need something more than that.
For their part, La Gazzetta reports that Napoli are still working on a possible loan deal for Lucas Leiva, and have continued to monitor the potential for a deal with Tottenham for Sandro. Both are much better fits for the holding midfield role than Suarez, as is Valencia's Dani Parejo, who La Gazzetta surprisingly mentions as a new option as a throwaway line at the end of their report. If Parejo really is available, it could be very intriguing to see Napoli go after him as a midfield option.