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Mercato Madness: Napoli compete with Liverpool to pursue Uruguayan starlet

Napoli have reportedly joined the chase for 19 year old Uruguayan sensation Jaime Baez.

Napoli aren't getting their hands on the "[insert name of country here] Messi" this winter, but what about the Next Luis Suarez? That would be 19 year old Uruguayan Jaime Baez, and Napoli are reportedly very interested in signing him.

While calling any young player the "next" version of a current superstar is usually hyperbolic, you can see a little bit of where it comes from in this case. Baez, who currently plays for Juventud de Las Piedras in Uruguay's Primera Division, is a little undersized for your typical center forward, but is solidly built, quick on his feet, eager to fight through challenges, and has a combination of a poacher's eye for goal and a trequartista's eye for creation.

In 66 all-competitions matches for Juventud over the past two and a half years, Baez has scored 16 goals and gotten nine assists. For a raw 19 year old still learning the game, that's pretty dang impressive, and so it comes as little surprise that he's garnered attention in Europe. English side Liverpool reportedly lodged a €4 million bid for him in December that was eventually rejected, and Valencia in Spain have been interested as well. Now Napoli have leapt in to the fray, hoping to land one of the brightest young talents in South America.

Juventud are obviously hesitant to part ways with Baez, as he's their best player and most valuable asset by far. It seems inevitable that he'll leave, though, and if his departure doesn't come this winter it will certainly be in the summer. Napoli's strong track record of developing South American players should certainly lend them a strong chance of sealing the deal, and if they can, Napoli fans should be excited.

Baez has all the ability to become a special player, and getting a kid like him while he's young without breaking the bank could help set the club up for attacking success for years to come. If Napoli feel like they have a real chance at getting him, they need to go all-out on Juventud to convince them to sell.