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Mercato Madness: Napoli pursuing versatile Belgian Thomas Meunier

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As the winter transfer window approaches, another name seems to have been added to Napoli's shopping list.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

When dealing with the rigors of a long season, having a player or two with the versatility to help you in several different areas of the pitch. Napoli have lacked that sort of utility player in recent seasons, which perhaps has worsened some of the injury crises they've had to deal with, particularly this season when injury issues in defense and attack have made those units painfully thin at times.

It would appear that Napoli wants to address that lack of utility, and if speculation is to be believed they've chosen a fascinating player to help fill that need. Speculation has mounted in Italy of late that Napoli are pushing hard to get their hands on Belgium international Thomas Meunier, who currently plies his trade with Belgian side Club Brugge.

Both Menuier's agent and Brugge's sporting director have confirmed Napoli's interest, and Meunier himself has been amusing himself by periodically retweeting rumors about him joining Napoli over the last few days. It sounds as though Napoli are far from the only club in the race, though, as Meunier's agent noted in a recent interview that several clubs in both England and Germany are following him as well.

Meunier began his career as a winger, capable of playing on either the right or left side of attacking midfield. He crosses the ball well, has a good eye for a pass, and uses his high work rate to press and harry relentlessly when his side don't have the ball. That skillset made his manager start an experiment about a year ago, and it's one that's worked out wonderfully for Meunier.

That experiment was to move the Belgian deeper on the pitch, all the way back to right back. Meunier has taken to the role like he was born for it, helping Brugge finish second during the regular season of the Belgian Pro League last season, and third in the Championship playoff. This season has been even better, with Brugge racing to the top of the table and qualifying for the Europa League knockout rounds while they've been at it.

If Napoli do go out and get Meunier, it'd be easy to see why. With just eighteen months left on his contract, Meunier should be affordable, especially coming from the Belgian Pro League. His versatility can help Napoli for the rest of the season, and his ability at right back can help the club replace Christian Maggio in the long term. It'd be an easy deal to like, and settling him in to the team should be fairly simple thanks to his friend and international teammate Dries Mertens already being part of the side.

This is something Napoli should seriously think about doing if they can. It just makes too much sense to at least try to get Meunier in the side. While Napoli could probably get by fine without him, this team could be much better with him in it.