Along with their fervent desire for a holding midfielder, Napoli has been pushing for an attacker or two to add to their rotation next season. Michu certainly helps out there, but he's a very central player, and Napoli could use another quality pair of legs out wide, too.
They've been linked with Olympique Marseilles' Andre Ayew off and on all summer, but today came a piece of news about another club's target that Napoli should pay close attention to: according to Gianluca Di Marzio, AS Roma have lodged an inquiry with Bayern Munich to see what it would take to get their hands on Xherdan Shaqiri, the Swiss international winger who had an impressive World Cup before Argentina bounced them out in the first knockout round.
According to Di Marzio, Bayern has slapped a €20 million price tag on the 22 year old attacker, and it's a price that Roma seem willing to meet in the wake of Liverpool apparently losing interest in signing Shaqiri. If that price is true, Napoli should jump all over that deal and push to wrap it up in a hurry.
Shaqiri is a delightfully talented winger who's combination of pace and trickery would make him immensely valuable in Serie A. He hasn't played much for Bayern since joining (which is why he wants to leave the German club), but has had several injury spells and these two guys named Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are ahead of him in the squad. Shaqiri plays mostly on the right wing, but is perfectly capable on the left, and can even play behind the striker a little if needed. He uses both feet well, and even tracks back quite well for a winger of his age.
The catch will be keeping him from signing with Roma first. Both clubs are in the Champions League, and Roma can probably give him more guaranteed playing time. That said, since Napoli are looking to make a splash on the market and don't seem to be making as many moves as Roma, they can probably offer him better terms on a contract (i.e. wages, wages, wages), and looking at who he is as a player, he's probably a better fit for success with Rafa Benitez than he would be with Rudi Garcia.
Yes, Napoli already have three excellent wide attackers with Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, and Jose Callejon kicking around. But all three struggled with fatigue thanks to a lack of rotation at different times in the year, so a fourth winger would do wonders to keep the attack fresh all year long, and to allow Rafa to mix and match according to his opposition more. Shaqiri also has the potential to be better than all three, and adding that kind of quality never hurts.
This might be just a pipe dream, given that there's been no reputable link between Napoli and Shaqiri yet, but if Napoli really do want to make a big splash, they should seriously consider starting with the little Swiss winger with huge calves. The fee is reasonable, the fit is excellent, and on a whole it just makes too much sense.
Please, Riccardo Bigon, if you or your staff are reading this: go make this deal happen. Now.