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Mercato Madness: Napoli like Gabbiadini, but a deal will be complicated

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Napoli are plenty interested in bringing in Sampdoria star and Italy international Manolo Gabbiadini, but a deal to get him will be complicated at best thanks to him being co-owned by Juventus.

If you like players who make dorky faces during matches, Gabbiadini is your guy.
If you like players who make dorky faces during matches, Gabbiadini is your guy.
Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

Napoli need to make an attacking addition or two this January, and supposedly the name on the top of their shopping list has some Italian flair to him. Manolo Gabbiadini has been having a very nice season for fourth-place Sampdoria in this Serie A campaign, and both Rafa Benitez and Riccardo Bigon have had warm words for the 23 year old Italy international in recent days.

That's lead to rampant speculation that Napoli intend to make a hard run at Gabbiadini in January, planning to plug him in to the depth chart at striker and utilize his versatility across the front line to help fill the void at left wing as well. It's speculation that makes a lot of sense; as mentioned above, both of Napoli's decision-makers when it comes to player acquisitions have said good things about Gabbiadini recently, and as far as his skillset and workrate is concerned, he's a good fit for the side as Rafa uses it.

So that all seems pretty straightforward, right? Give Sampdoria a pile of money, sign Gabbiadini to a new contract with a decent raise, and party on.

Not so fast. You see, Sampdoria only co-owns Gabbiadini. One of the last players under the on-their-way-out rules of co-ownership in Italy, the rest of Gabbiadini's contract rights are held by a team that almost certainly don't want to see the young Italian striker head to Naples: Juventus.

Hooray.

That means that Napoli would have to negotiate separate fees for Gabbiadini with both teams in order to bring him in to the fold. Juventus has a long history of playing hard-to-please in situations like this, and it's likely that their involvement will significantly increase the price Napoli would have had to pay for Gabbiadini. The rumor mill had generally been espousing a price of €7-9 million for Gabbiadini before people remembered that Juve were involved as well; now, you can likely expect that price to be doubled at minimum, and more likely to set Napoli back some €20 million at the least to satisfy Juventus.

With that one realization, a transfer for Gabbiadini goes from plausible and intriguing to almost certainly not happening. It's a shame, but such is life. Transfer-hostage-taking like this is one of the reasons that the co-ownership is going away, so at least things like this will be far less of a concern in the future. In the meantime, though, it's time to look at new transfer targets.