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Report: Swansea City "very close" to signing Federico Fernandez

Everyone's favorite Italian rumor mongerer claims that the once-ridiculous transfer of Federico Fernandez to Swansea is about to become a real thing.

"Wales? Really? I need a better agent."
"Wales? Really? I need a better agent."
Laurence Griffiths

Well, so much for this rumor being a pile of manure.

According to Gianluca Di Marzio and Sky Sports Italia, Swansea City are "very close" to completing a deal to acquire central defender Federico Fernandez from Napoli for a reported €10 million. Fernandez would ostensibly replace departing starter Chico Flores, who just completed a move to a Qatari team now helmed by former Swans manager Michael Laudrup. Di Marzio reports that Fernandez will soon sign a four-year contract that doubles his current wages.

For Napoli, this move makes basically zero sense. Fernandez made tremendous strides last season, and was basically their best defender down the stretch when Raul Albiol started to wear down. The Argentine international was set to continue to play a big role in Napoli's defense, and was looking at likely getting a contract extension as well.

Now it appears he's leaving instead, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of Napoli's defense to fill. Kalidou Koulibaly has been very impressive in pre-season, but isn't ready to take that big a role full-time for a club at Napoli's level. Behind him are Henrique Buss, who was just this side of a disaster whenever he played centrally last season, and Miguel Britos, who just isn't all that good. Both are decent enough reserves, but aren't players you want to rely on for long if you can avoid it.

The only way this makes sense for Napoli is if they already have a replacement lined up, one who's better and can provide a greater impact for Fernandez. Napoli have only been linked to one central defender that fits that description, however, and no one is actually sure as to whether or not Daniel Agger is willing to leave Liverpool. There's certainly been rumors about it, and he made some unhappy noises in the Denmark press recently, every time he's been asked about a move over the last few years, Agger has very firmly replied that he loves Liverpool and is staying put.

Another occasionally rumored target, Thomas Vermaelen, just put pen to paper on a transfer to Barcelona, so that option is right now. Who might come in is entirely unknown at this point, and the whole situation is pretty frustrating. Napoli need to be getting better, not selling key players.

If this deal happens and Napoli fall against Atheltic Bilbao because of defensive issues (and midfield issues, for that matter), Aurelio De Laurentiis and Riccardo Bigon will need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and think on how this summer has played out, because it's starting to potentially turn ugly for Napoli.