Parma's dire financial straits and an apparently growing amount of off-pitch strife seems to have the club staring down the barrel of a fire sale, leading some Napoli fans to wonder if there's some way the partenopei can profit from Parma's misery.
The most likely piece of their squad to help, and the only one so far with a firm Napoli link, is Gabriel Paletta, a 28 year old central defender. Paletta is hardly a star player in the middle of defense, despite his status as an Italian international, but for the right price he could offer a marked upgrade for Napoli in terms of their defensive depth. He's a big step up in quality from Henrique or Miguel Britos as a central reserve, and he's good enough to keep Rafa Benitez from having to force Raul Albiol in to the lineup every week no matter how shaky his form.
How much "the right price" would be is a matter of some debate, though. Parma paid some €3 million to get Paletta from Boca Juniors four and a half years ago, and it's likely that any fee much over that would be enough for them to sell at the moment should they decide to part ways with the defender. Since €3 million is supposedly about what Villarreal would consider offering for Henrique, that sort of deal would work out rather nicely for Napoli.
Of course, Napoli would also have to convince Paletta to come to Naples, and without a guaranteed starting role, that might be difficult. Still, it's an option well worth considering should the opportunity arise over the next few days before the transfer window shuts.
Another option, and one that's been a topic of some debate among Napoli fans, is Antonio Cassano. FantAntonio is technically no longer a Parma player, having been released from his contract this week after a protracted battle with club management over unpaid wages and other issues, but is well worth considering in this discussion.
The versatile 32 year old forward has scored five goals this season after scoring a dozen during Parma's miracle run up the table last season, and in the right role Cassano could do Napoli a lot of good. Employed as an impact sub off the bench with an occasional start for the right matchups, and he could be a force in Naples. Having him around, even if just for the rest of the season, would also allow Napoli to resist the temptation to rush Lorenzo Insigne back early from his ACL tear, allowing them time to make sure he's completely healthy before playing again.
Like Paletta, though, Cassano would likely still prefer a larger role, even with the advance of years plaguing him. One of the more intriguing rumors around Cassano since he became a free agent is the possibility of joining Bologna, helping them surge back in to Serie A after being relegated last season. It's a match that makes a lot of sense for Cassano, allowing him to play the hero once more while saving his legs a bit against lesser competition.
There's also Ishak Belfodil, a promising young attacking midfielder, but it seems more likely that Parma's new owners would want to build the squad around him than discard him. Getting him now would also be complicated, as he's with Faouzi Ghoulam and Algeria at AFCON for at least another week, leaving that idea pretty much dead in the water.
While it's unlikely that any such deals happen between Napoli and Parma, they're still thoughts well worth considering. With a limited budget, Napoli need to find smart deals, not just players that fit. With Parma's crisis, they can potentially do both, so at least looking in to whether they can get these deals done is a must. Either way, watching what's happening at Parma unfold over the coming months will be a fascinating thing.