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Raul Albiol nears Napoli contract extension

No return to Valencia after all, apparently.

Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Despite coming into the summer with many carrying the belief that Raul Albiol would return home to Spain and Valencia, it now sounds as though the veteran defender will be staying put and signing a new long-term deal to remain with Napoli. According to reports in Italy, Napoli made Albiol an "irresistible" offer, and Albiol will be signing it soon.

Albiol is due to receive a four year, €2.5 million per season contract, one year longer than the contract Valencia was willing to give Albiol on similar financial terms. The Spanish side had been willing to give Napoli €8 million for Albiol's services, but the club apparently decided they needed the player more than the cash.

And right now, that makes sense. With the futures of Kalidou Koulibaly and Vlad Chiriches still very much up in the air, Napoli need Albiol's experience and stabilizing presence in the squad, even if he's not quite as good as he once was. Every team needs a leader on their back line like Albiol, and without an obvious option to replace that role he fills on the transfer market, Napoli are probably making the right decision.

Increasing Albiol's wages a fair amount is an interesting decision from Napoli as well, and one that sends a message to the rest of the market: they're serious about improving this summer, and they're not afraid to open up their pocket books to get the job done.

Also interesting is that while Napoli were linked to a move to Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi as a replacement for Albiol, it still seems as though they're interested in the German international even with Albiol staying put. That would be a fascinating signing, but something that still seems to be a ways off from any kind of fruition, assuming something even does come of it.

In the short run, though, Napoli are keeping a player they need, and that's only good news.