On Monday, Napoli celebrated their 90th birthday in style, beating OGC Nice in a summer friendly for the second year in a row, this time 3-0 with a first-half brace from Kalidou Koulibaly and a goal from Dries Mertens. More importantly, though, they introduced their latest signing to the fans, making the transfer of Arkadiusz Milik official with a ceremonious presentation before the match, including a welcome tweet from Aurelio De Laurentiis himself:
Milik was introduced with full flair by Decibel Bellini to rapturous applause, including unveiling his shirt number. The Polish international wore the number 9 at Ajax, a number typically associated with center forwards — but interestingly, he’ll be wearing 99 with Napoli.
It’s not unknown at all for center forwards to wear 99 in Serie A, but some are seeing greater meaning in the decision for Milik to wear the number for Napoli. With the club’s ongoing — and frustrating — pursuit of Mauro Icardi, who wears 9 at Inter Milan, it’s thought by some that Milik won’t be the new frontman for Napoli, that he’ll be playing second fiddle to Icardi once they can pry him from Inter’s grasp.
That would be a disappointment — Icardi appears to be a ridiculously poor fit for Napoli and wildly overpriced — but the more important thing for now is that Napoli have bought a very talented striker and are pushing towards getting their summer moving in a positive direction again after weeks of struggles and frustrations.
Welcome to Napoli, Arkadiusz. We hope your stay is very long and very, very successful.