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Mercato Madness: Napoli Expand Midfield Search To Another Borussia Monchengladbach Player

With more reinforcements in mind, Riccardo Bigon is sniffing around another Gladbach midfielder, this time the more defensively-minded Christoph Kramer.

Martin Rose

Apparently Granit Xhaka isn't the only Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder that Napoli have their eyes on. According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Napoli have made inquiries as to the availability of one Christoph Kramer, Xhaka's partner in midfield.

Kramer is a box-to-box midfielder of fair repute, especially among those who follow younger German players and their youth national teams. Kramer didn't make a ton of U-20 and U-19 appearances, but he did very well when called upon, to the point that when the German national side had an injury crisis in midfield, Joachim Low put him on to his bench without a moment's hesitation. He also played well today for Germany in the World Cup final, called in to action when Sami Khedira got hurt in warmups, until Ezequiel Garay's shoulder knocked his head in to another galaxy and forced him out of the match.

The 23 year old midfielder is coming off a solid season for Gladbach, making 30 starts, scoring three goals, and establishing his reputation as an "engine room" player. If you're not quite sure what that means, think of someone like Jordan Henderson for Liverpool: charging up and down the pitch using a strong work rate and tactical sense to help support and facilitate the attack while working to disrupt what the other team does in possession.

That's a valuable midfield role for a lot of clubs, and one that Gokhan Inler fills for Napoli to some extent. With Blerim Dzemaili expected to leave by some, a proper backup for that role would be nice, though you'd expect Kramer to prefer to go somewhere where he's guaranteed more playing time if he does leave Gladbach.

According to Di Marzio, the German side has placed a €15 million price tag on Kramer, which feels fair given his current talent and projected improvements. That's quite a lot of money for someone you're not expecting to start on a regular basis, though, at least not for this season. Given that it likely doesn't make a lot of sense for Kramer either, this probably isn't a rumor that will come to fruition, though it's fun to think of in the meantime.