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Astori deal disintegrating, Napoli working on other transfers in defense

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It's looking more and more like Davide Astori won't be a Napoli player, so the club is working on new deals for central defenders, including Brazilian starlet Doria.

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OK, this is officially annoying. Now, Davide Astori isn't just flirting with Fiorentina after re-joining training with Serie B side Cagliari, apparently he's now been offered to Juventus, perhaps even at his behest.

Screw that noise.

Apparently Napoli are annoyed too, because they've all but pulled out of the already agreed transfer thanks to Astori hemming and hawing and waffling and trying to find other options. One of them is Nikola Maksimovic, who Torino are loathe to give up but Napoli have showed significant interest in and even determination to make him a partenopei star. He would cost a lot, but the young Serbian is very talented and could be a big help to Napoli both this year and over the next few.

There's also been talk of Napoli making an offer for Alessio Romagnoli, the Roma starlet who drew rave reviews while on loan at Sampdoria last season. Napoli have supposedly offered Roma €28 million plus bonuses, but even if they accept the bid, they'd still have to convince Romagnoli to sign, who has continuously stated a preference to join AC Milan and former Samp boss Sinisa Mihajlovic, an interest that seems to be reciprocated by the rossoneri.

Despite all that domestic trouble, though, Napoli have recently been linked to a player from abroad who is very intriguing and who could make a fantastic signing: Olympique Marseille's Doria.

According to Corriere dello Sport, Napoli have turned their attention to the 20 year old Brazilian wonderkid, who just moved to France a year ago after starring for Botafogo for two years as a teenager. Doria never played a minute for Marseille, however, as he and Marco Bielsa apparently never got along, and the eccentric Argentine coach never wanted to give the defender a chance.

That's something that just happens with Bielsa sometimes, so it's not a major concern, and when Doria was loaned to São Paulo in January, he responded by dominating Brazil's top division some more, playing every minute of the nine league matches he was available for, and starring in four Copa Libertadores group stage matches that saw his side give up just three goals to two of the top teams in South America. São Paulo are in financial turmoil and couldn't afford their purchase clause, though, so when the loan expired at the end of June Doria had to return to France to a coach who still doesn't want him.

That's opened the door for Napoli to maybe step in. Doria is young, big, freakishly athletic, and has a strong base of technical skills to build on. That sounds like a pretty perfect mix for Maurizio Sarri to play with, and if Napoli could get him to live up to even a fraction of his potential, they could have a star on their hands -- if they can sign him. There's been no word yet on a potential fee, but with him being out of Marseille's plans, as long as they get their €7 million investment back plus maybe a little extra, the French club will probably be happy. Unless they get greedy. Always possible, that.

This is a rumor in its very earliest stages, but man is it an exciting one to consider. Signing Doria would be a coup for Napoli, and if there's any chance this is a Real Thing, Napoli absolutely have to pursue it.