So much for that hopeful midfield reinforcement: less than 24 hours after a deal was believed to be close, Maxime Gonalons has rejected a proposed transfer to Napoli, deciding to stay at Olympique Lyon instead.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas had reportedly relented on his desire to keep hold of his club's captain in order to help solve Lyon's current financial woes. That desire is what short-circuited a potential deal for Gonalons in January, with the notoriously difficult Aulas hiking up his demanded price for the holding mid at the last minute. Instead, though, it was the player himself blowing the deal up, choosing to stay at the club he grew up with.
Of course, his reasons may not be quite so innocent as that; there have been rumors since the deal fell apart that Gonalons scuppered the deal in order to force a move to the English Premier League. While the lights and glitter of arguably the best league in the world are tempting, it's hard to see any of England's Champions League sides giving him a chance, so Gonalons may have just metaphorically shot his chances to make his career shine in the foot.
For their part, Aurelio De Laurentiis and Riccardo Bigon are reportedly "enraged" at this turn of events. They've now been twice burned at the last hurdle when trying to acquire Gonalons, and it's doubtful that they'll be returning to that well again. In fact, it shouldn't be surprising if they don't even bother trying to deal with Lyon again.
Fortunately, there seem to be plenty of holding midfielders being bandied about in transfer rumors this summer, and it shouldn't be long before Napoli get linked with half a dozen more. It's just a matter of waiting and seeing what the transfer rumor mill churns out for us to poke at with a stick.