It's official: Napoli have made their first signing of the summer, bringing in Mirko Valdifiori on a €5 million deal from Empoli. After it was reported that contract terms were agreed yesterday, Valdifiori attended and passed his medical examination at the club's Castel Volturno training facility Saturday morning and signed his contract with Aurelio De Laurentiis present.
There was some concern on Thursday over a bizarre contract clause Napoli wanted in his deal, with some fearing the clause -- which ostensibly removed Valdifiori's ability to control his fate in a transfer in two years -- would scuttle the deal. Napoli removed the clause, though, and it was smooth sailing from there.
Valdifiori, 29, signed a four-year contract believed to be worth some €800,000 per season, or roughly €15,000 per week. Those wages represent a healthy bump from what Valdifiori has made in the past, but are minimal for a team like Napoli to pay out. The relatively inexpensive nature of the deal, between a reasonable fee and the dirt-cheap wages, make this a transfer that's hard to dislike.
While Valdifiori has skills that can certainly be useful for Napoli -- especially when it comes to serving up set-pieces, something the club has struggled with -- his main value comes from his experience with Maurizio Sarri. He's worked with Napoli's new manager for the last three years and thrived under his tutelage, and he knows his boss' midfield system inside and out. That experience will be invaluable for helping his fellow midfielders grow comfortable in the new system, which could ultimately be the most valuable thing Valdifiori does for Napoli by far.
Valdifiori has one cap with the Italian national team, having been called up by Antonio Conte in March to see what he could offer the national side after a highly-regarded first season in Serie A. He played decently in his debut, starting and playing 67 minutes against England in a friendly in Turin. He also got called in to Conte's training camp squad earlier this month, and if he continues to impress with a bigger club in Napoli, he could wind up with a few more Italian caps to his name before his career is done.
Best of luck to you in your time in Naples Valdifiori. We're all hoping for big things.