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Mercato Madness: Arsenal target €12.5 million move for Napoli striker

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Napoli may soon be fending off a bid for yet another of their attackers, as Arsenal have turned their attention to Edu Vargas to help improve their attacking depth.

Paolo Bruno

One of the more intriguing mysteries of this summer for Napoli hasn't been who their new midfielder will be, or if they'll add another defender, or what will happen with Pepe Reina. No, it's been this: what will the fate of Eduardo Vargas be?

The Chilean attacker was brought in with much promise and excitement, and his early appearances for the club promised a bright future for player and club. Then, mysteriously, Walter Mazzarri stopped playing him. Well, perhaps the reason isn't so mysterious; Mazzarri has never seemed to much care for younger players, and as Vargas was 22 at the time, he certainly qualified.

Edu was banished to Brazil on loan with Gremio, where he played fairly well, then was sent to Spain with Valencia when Rafa Benitez couldn't find space in his squad for Vargas right away last January. He did very well with Valencia, and then went on to star for Chile during their impressive World Cup run. One Chilean star from that squad has already found a new home in England, as Alexis Sanchez made a big-money move to Arsenal, and now it sounds like he wants to bring his friend Edu with him.

Apparently in part on Alexis' recommendation, Arsenal are reportedly preparing to make Napoli a €12.5 million bid for Vargas to help bolster their attacking depth. The move makes sense for the English club; Vargas would give them a better like-for-like backup for Sanchez than anyone else on their roster, and would serve as a fantastic attacking option off the bench when he's not starting.

The trouble for Napoli is that they need that kind of player too. Vargas' dynamism, quality, and versatility are exactly what Napoli needed and too often lacked last season, and he could play a key role in their attack this season. Rafa Benitez has talked about wanting to include Vargas in his side at times this summer, though he's been somewhat non-committal about it, presumably in case an offer such as this came along.

If Vargas isn't going to be a major part of Napoli's plans, his talent deserves a bigger role elsewhere. It's not a bad offer at all for Vargas, and could especially be useful for the partenopei from a Financial Fair Play perspective to help balance out other moves to be made this summer, though last season's revenue from the Champions League and Europa League could go a long way towards that as well.

It would be very unfortunate, though perhaps understandable, if Vargas did leave. His quality would be of immense help to Napoli this season, but that quality coupled with his position on the depth chart makes him potentially expendable should the right (read: sufficiently large) offer come along. If Arsenal are willing to meet Napoli's price, Vargas will be on his way to England, and Napoli will turn to finding a new young attacker to fill his place.