Napoli's pre-season training camp is in full swing, but there's a few too many faces at the Castel Volturno right now, especially if the club is going to keep adding players as is rumored.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Aurelio De Laurentiis has told his technical director Riccardo Bigon that it's time to sell some extra squad members before too much longer. It's a perfectly sensible demand; even without the seemingly inevitable additions of Michu and potentially Lucas Leiva, Napoli already have 32 first-team players on the roster right now, and that's not even including some younger reserve players who have yet to crack the first team squad in a meaningful way.
With the Champions League dictating a 25-man primary roster and without a limitless wage bill, that means some excess fat has got to go. It's always sad to see players leave, but you do always hope that by leaving the club, these guys can find a better situation for themselves and their careers. It also has the added benefit of freeing up wages for new (and hopefully better) arrivals, as well as adding whatever transfer fees come in to the war chest.
La Gazzetta names quite a few names for those who could depart, and they all make sense. The most obvious are the likes of Walter Gargano, Antonio Rosati, and Marco Donadel, among a few others. All are players who were previous deemed surplus to requirements, and have spent the last year (or more) away on loan trying to find a better home.
There's also a few other names that could or should leave that might be harder for some fans to accept. Swiss international Valon Behrami famously fell out with Gokhan Inler last season, turning a once-amazing midfield partnership in to something that was barely functional on a good day. He still has some value, though, at least to a side that feels they can rehabilitate him and get him functioning as a player again.
Two others that fell out of favor last year are Miguel Britos and Goran Pandev. Britos was briefly a starter before he got dinged up right as Federico Fernandez got healthy and became one of the better defenders in Serie A. Now with Henrique Buss and Kalidou Koulibaly around, Britos is the fifth center back at best, and would be better served playing elsewhere. Pandev played frequently and finished with a decent stat line, but that covered up the fact that he mostly only started due to injuries or fatigue in other players, and largely played very, very poorly last season.
One name that many Napoli fans would be sad to see go is Blerim Dzemaili, but this is definitely a case of a player needing a better situation. He was never a great fit to play under Rafa Benitez, but he's too good to just waste away on the bench. There's been some rumors lately that he could be used as makeweight in a potential Granit Xhaka deal, and that makes some sense. Borussia Monchengladbach would need a replacement for their Swiss international, so why not slot in another one that their manager, Lucien Favre, knows well and has massive respect for? Gladbach would be a fantastic situation for Dzemaili if he does leave Napoli, and it's easy to see his career starting to flourish again should he move to Germany.
The Gazzetta story also mentions Edu Vargas, which both does and does not make sense. Vargas' agent said not two weeks ago that his client was told that he's wanted in Naples and that Vargas would be thrilled to stay in Italy now that the club has a better situation for him than Walter Mazzarri's version of the club ever offered. That said, if he does leave, he'd probably fetch a bigger fee than any of the other players mentioned, so there's that to consider as well.
Sadly, the transfer window isn't all fun and games. The cost of bringing in exciting new talent is that some old favorites have to leave. It's for the good of all involved, though, and hopefully most of the departures are bittersweet rather than just bitter.