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Napoli chasing Markus Henriksen to improve midfield

You know how it seems like Napoli have been chasing a backup for Marek Hamsik forever? This might be the guy.

Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Napoli are expected to be at least somewhat active in the January transfer market, with president Aurelio De Laurentiis saying they're looking at making at least two signings. One of those is almost certainly going to be in midfield, and to that end Napoli have reportedly been looking at several midfielders in the Eredivisie, with many reports centering on AZ Alkmaar playmaker Markus Henriksen.

Henriksen is enjoying a fantastic season for AZ, scoring nine goals with two assists in 20 all-competitions matches so far in the campaign. He had played every minute possible for AZ until an injury early in December knocked him out of action. His talent on the ball is noticeable whenever you watch AZ -- he's clearly one of the best at his position in the Eredivisie, and looks ready for a greater challenge

Just 23 years old, Henriksen has already become a core part of the Norway national team, with 24 senior caps despite his relatively young age. Given their recent successes -- they only barely missed qualifying for Euro 2016 and were arguably the most impressive team to miss out based on their performances -- Henriksen being a key part of the team at his age is definitely something to take note of.

Rumors have AZ demanding a fee of anywhere from €5 million to €7 million, which feels like a reasonable amount to ask for given Henriksen's talent. Napoli haven't been afraid of shelling out that kind of money before in the January market, so that won't be a hurdle -- but Henriksen having to be willing to accept reduced playing time could be.

His role in the Napoli side would be as a rotational option and a direct backup for Hamsik, something Napoli have badly needed for a long time. His skillset and what he generally does on the pitch are roughly similar to the beloved Slovakian, though he tends to go about it somewhat differently, relying on work rate and more technical action to Hamsik's silkier style and flair. Still, Henriksen would have a lot of value to Napoli in helping keep Hamsik -- and to a lesser degree Allan -- from getting overplayed, as well as providing a much-needed playmaking option from the bench.

This is a deal that would make a whole lot of sense for Napoli. Will it get done? Maybe, maybe not. It's too early to tell just how legitimate the rumors are, though the sourcing and their confidence in the reporting seems fairly solid.