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Napoli take pole position to sign Polish midfielder

21 year old Piotr Zielinksi's star is rising, and it could soon be coming to Naples.

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One of the biggest issues that Napoli have faced in the last couple of years has been quality depth in midfield, especially in terms of a backup for Marek Hamsik. Lacking another good attacking option behind him has hurt the team at times, so addressing that needs to be a top priority this summer -- and according to reports, they've identified their top target for the job.

Enter Piotr Zielinski, a midfielder owned by Udinese who has spent the season on loan at Empoli. He was there last year as well -- it's a two-year loan like the one that has Duvan Zapata playing with the zebrette -- meaning that Maurizio Sarri is already familiar with him and can easier adapt him to his current system in Naples. According Empoli president Fabrizio Corsi, Napoli already made a push to sign Zielinksi in January -- something Udinese would have kept him apprised of -- and it sounds as though they're going to try again this summer.

They'll have competition, though -- Roma are interested as well, and English Premier League outfit Liverpool have been hot on his trail for a couple of months now. Corriere dello Sport, however, report that Napoli have moved into pole position to sign the Polish international -- pun only slightly intended. OK, very intended. Regardless, CdS have proved over and over through the years that they have good ties with Napoli and don't put out bad information as readily as other papers do, so there's reason to believe what they have to say.

Zielinski makes a lot of sense for Napoli to bring in -- he's shown excellent creative instincts and technical skills this season, and would be well-suited to serve as Hamsik's reserve. He's got plenty of experience despite his young age, with 75 Serie A appearances already under his belt, and 13 senior caps for Poland. He's good enough to make an impact now, but young enough to improve significantly. He likely wouldn't cost a cringe-inducing amount of money, and Napoli's good relationship with Udinese would likely help on that front as well.

Don't start ordering a Napoli shirt with "Zielinski" on the back just yet, though. They may be in the lead, but if Liverpool really do want him, they can throw enough money Udinese's way to change that easily. He'd be a good fit for the partenopei, but that same skillset makes him desirable for many teams -- meaning it's going to be a battle to sign him. Still, if they can make it work, it would be an excellent signing for Napoli.