It's transfer season, which means rampant speculation that this player or that player desperately wants out of your favorite club for very valid reasons, which usually have more to do with playing time and/or money than anything else.
Napoli certainly haven't been immune to such speculation, with rumors of varying degree of unbelievability connecting several players to departures from the San Paolo. Napoli's sporting director, Riccardo Bigon, had to answer questions about potential departures after he had introduced Napoli's new signings to the media Friday morning.
"There are no players who have asked to leave, even those who have played less," was Bigon's response to the questions. "The group is together, everyone believes in our project."
Of course, that didn't dissuade the reporters who wanted answers, who turned their focus to Gokhan Inler and their belief that he has a burning desire to leave. The Swiss international has been finding playing time hard to come by thanks to the rise of David Lopez, and the 30 year old has played just 15 all-competitions matches for Napoli so far. That's lead many to assume that he'll be on his way out, and reporters wanted Bigon to talk about it.
Bigon didn't seem amused. "Inler has absolutely not asked to leave, Gokhan is a model professional who always gives 100 per cent, even when he’s not always playing. At the time his departure is not something we’re thinking about."
That seems pretty forthright, but what about players whose contracts are expiring? Reporters have gots ta know! "[Christian] Maggio and [Giandomenico] Mesto leaving is not likely, they could renew."
Oh. Well that's all sensible and boring and stuff, isn't it?
Look, reporters expecting Bigon to divulge all of his secrets and plans in a press conference designed to introduce two new players was silly. He was never going to give them the answers they wanted, so why even bother? The extra detail of saying that no players have asked to leave is interesting and important, given the lack of playing time that some like Inler and Henrique have had to deal with, but otherwise, there's nothing surprising about Bigon's statement.
Maybe Napoli will get rid of a player or two this month, maybe they won't. It sounds rather like they hit their two big objectives right out of the gate with the signings of Strinic and Gabbiadini, giving them the opportunity to sit back and see how the market shakes out before making any other moves. That's a smart play; it lets Napoli wait for the right and most beneficial opportunities to emerge rather than seeking something that might not quite fit out of desperation.
So whether Inler stays or no, whether other players go or remain, is yet to be seen. It sounds like Bigon and Napoli are happy to stand pat as things currently sit, but the transfer market is a strange and mysterious thing. If the right offer comes along, don't be surprised at all if someone like Inler is wearing a new shirt by the close of the transfer window.