Here’s an interesting wrinkle for Napoli’s transfer deadline activity: the partenopei may have just agreed to sign Nikola Maksimovic, but they’re pushing for another defender as well, believed to be close to signing Rodrigo Caio from Brazilian power Sao Paulo.
Napoli have had trouble signing players from Sao Paulo before — they struggled trying to sign Ganso from them two years ago — but this time the Brazilian club is motivated to sell and has plenty of reason to make a deal happen. They’re willing to sell him for €10 million, a fee perfectly affordable for Napoli, and they need to raise funds because of financial woes they’re going through. This has all the makings of a quick deal, and something Napoli can finish before the window closes on Wednesday.
Caio, 23, is a very talented defender who many in Europe have wanted to see make the journey over for the last year or so, after he recovered well from missing most of 2014 with a knee injury. A former defensive midfielder, Caio has the chops on the ball and the instinct reading play around him to develop very well, and the athleticism to shine against even very athletic attackers. He was also a big part of Brazil’s gold medal-winning campaign in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, starting every game in central defense as his team allowed just one goal all tournament long.
While normally he would be tricky to sign because of Italy’s non-European Union transfer restrictions, he picked up an Italian passport earlier this summer as he, like Jorginho, has Italian heritage, paving the way to simplify the deal dramatically. There’s very little not to like about this deal for Napoli — other than trying to figure out what’s increasingly becoming a logjam in central defense.