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Mercato Madness: Manchester United jack up Fellaini demands, Napoli look at other options

With Manchester United raising their demanded loan fee for Marouane Fellaini, Napoli are checking in on other midfield options.

Laurence Griffiths

Over the weekend, we heard that Manchester United was willing to pay half of Marouane Fellaini's very significant wages during a loan deal for the upcoming season. Once that came out, many thought that the deal would get wrapped up pretty quickly, but here we are almost a week later and there's been little to no apparent movement on getting Fellaini in a Napoli uniform.

Some thought that Napoli's interest had cooled, but both Rafa Benitez and Aurelio De Laurentiis had since expressed eagerness to bring Fellaini in, and Gokhan Inler had even recently said that he was ready and willing to face the extra competition. Even with that, though, no deal materialized.

Now, we know why: reports from Italy and England indicate that the English club decided to try to balance out their wage expenditure on the deal by dramatically raising their demands for Fellaini's loan fee, with the fee they sought going from near €2 million to €5 million, essentially wiping out any savings that Napoli would have gotten from sharing the midfielder's wages. Napoli, understandably, have balked at this demand, and are investigating the status of their other midfield options.

That means a return to Lucas Leiva of Liverpool and Sandro of Tottenham Hotspur, two defensive midfielders that Napoli have been repeatedly linked to over the summer. Napoli were reportedly in talks with Liverpool for a loan of Lucas several weeks ago, but those talks also stalled out over wage issues, though not ones near as serious as Fellaini's. Sport Mediaset also reports on a broadcast that Napoli have re-opened their inquiry in to Sandro, who was close to a move to Zenit St. Petersburg before the Russian side turned their attention to Manchester City's Javi Garcia.

Gianluca Di Marzio also indicates that Napoli have continued their interest in Ignacio Camacho, something that's quietly been rumbled about without much actual momentum throughout the summer. Of course, by the usual logic of transfer windows, that means Camacho will be at a press conference holding a Napoli shirt by this time next week.

No matter what, a Fellaini deal is starting to look a lot shakier than it did just a few days ago. It might not happen at all now, and if it does it certainly won't be in time for him to help in the Champions League Playoff tie against Athletic Bilbao, which is unfortunate. Still Napoli should be able to "suffer through", and any additions made after the tie will be most welcome for the league season and (hopefully) the Group Stage campaign.