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Rumors swirl of complicated Matteo Darmian player swap deal in the works

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Napoli are rumored to be sending as many as three players to Torino for Matteo Darmian, but how likely is that, really?

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The papers and rumor rags love to write about transfer rumors about popular players. Even better? Transfer rumors about a popular player being involved in a trade -- or swap, or part exchange, depending on your preferred wording -- for another player. Even better? That popular player rumored to be getting traded for multiple players. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we've reached that perfect storm: supposedly, Napoli are involved in negotiations with Torino involving a swap of Matteo Darmian for Duvan Zapata, Jorginho, and cash, and possibly with Omar El Kaddouri staying in Turin on a permanent basis as well.

Darmian is valued at over €20 million by Torino, who view him as their single best and most valuable player. While the fee seems high for the player, it's hard to argue with the rest of that assessment, as the granata would have been much worse without him in their side in recent years. So the rumor goes, Naopli are hoping that throwing Zapata and Jorginho in to the deal could help reduce Darmian's fee to as low as €10 million, or even lower with El Kaddouri included as well, now that he's back from two years on loan in Turin.

If that sounds insanely complicated, that's because it is. Any player "swap" transfer is very difficult to pull off, because if any one element of it goes wrong, the entire deal is off. When you start adding even more players to it, the difficulty level only skyrockets. That factor alone seemingly makes it likely that this entire rumor is simply paper talk, with little to no reliance on reality to make it happen.

Still, there are elements of this rumor that do make sense. Napoli have wanted Darmian for a long time, with Aurelio De Laurentiis long viewing him as the future for Napoli at right back. Torino have also wanted Zapata for a long time, having tried to get him from Napoli in each of the last two transfer windows. They've also shown a fair bit of interest in Jorginho this summer, and very likely want to retain El Kaddouri, seeing as he's been one of their best players over the last two seasons.

Combine all of that in to one big ol' pile, though, and you get a mess that would be very hard to untangle in such a way that works for both teams. It's fun to speculate about, but the likelihood of this rumor coming true as reported is very low, for the simple reasons that deals like it are very, very rare. Even when they do happen, the players heading to the "selling" team -- the club giving up the big name and likely getting cash as well as players -- are either young or outside of the first team at the club they're currently with, and want to go somewhere where they can potentially get senior squad playing time.

More likely, Napoli would separately sell Zapata and Jorginho, possibly even to Torino, and use their transfer fees to fund their purchase Darmian. If any player is to be involved in a swap for the versatile defender, it would be El Kaddouri, who Torino almost certainly want to retain and who almost certainly wants to stay with the club that he's spent the last two years with.

In the end, we shouldn't be surprised if Darmian winds up as a Napoli player by the time the season starts. This deal, though, looks like a pretty long shot as a way to get that done.