According to Genoa’s sporting director, Mario Donatelli, Napoli were the team that looked likely to land Piatek, not Milan. De Laurentiis met with Genoa’s president and a deal was all but agreed which would have seen the Polish striker stay at Genoa until the end of the season and then join Napoli in the summer. However, Gonzalo Higuain’s desire to leave Milan and join his former manager at Chelsea meant Milan were desperate to replace the Argentine and were able to force a move with Genoa for a mere 35 million euros.
Many Partenopei fans, and perhaps rightfully so, think that Napoli should have made more of an effort to land the 23-year-old but at the time it was understandable why a move wasn’t forced. Genoa and Milan have a close relationship as both clubs buy and sell regularly from each other and both parties would be keen to maintain this good partnership. It also seemed unnecessary for Napoli to rush and buy another striker when Milik was finally starting to fulfill his potential scoring 7 goals in 6 matches leading up to Napoli’s match with Milan.
However, two scoreless draws later and suddenly it seems like the Napoli may have missed out on a chance to get a truly special number nine. Milik in many ways may be more technically gifted (with a left-foot that would make many of the world’s best players jealous) but he lacks the clinical finishing and hunger for goal of a world class striker. Mertens was a goal scoring machine last year but it appears that Ancelotti prefers a more traditional forward up top partnering with Insigne as a secondary striker. The end of the season will be crucial for Milik to show the club that he can be the consistent target man going forward that Napoli so desperately needs.
Napoli face Zurich on thursday at the San Paolo and will be looking to gain some much needed confidence in front of goal before traveling to Parma on Sunday.