Two years ago, Jose Callejon arrived at Napoli as a question mark. What would this ex-Real Madrid backup forward with a funny haircut offer to the club? Would he actually be any good?
As it turned out, the answer to those questions were "quite a lot" and "very good." We may have seen the last of Callejon in Naples, though, as Napoli now have a new manager with a new system that doesn't quite seem to have a clear-cut place for the Spaniard. That's opened the door for Atletico Madrid to pounce after trying to get their hands on Callejon for the last year.
A year ago, Callejon going to Atleti seemed like a strange fit -- he had, after all, come up as a player for their cross-town rivals, Real Madrid. Why would he want to play on the "wrong" side of Madrid after that? But with the winger seemingly out of Maurizio Sarri's plans, playing for a former rival is better than sitting on the bench hardly playing at all.
Now it looks like the deal is imminent, or so says Spanish TV station TVE. The deal would reportedly be for €15 million -- €5 million less than the deal Napoli rejected a year ago, but a slightly down season for Callejon combined with not having a place in the team hurts Napoli's negotiating leverage. It's still a healthy profit on the roughly €9 million fee Napoli paid to get him two years ago, so at least it represents a tidy bit of business.
Still, it will be sad to see him go. Dubbed "Ziggy" by The Siren's Song's founder, Callejon became a fan favorite in Naples and really emerged as a quality player while he was with Napoli, and earned his first senior international caps for Spain thanks to his growth with Napoli. More importantly, though, and his now-wife had a baby girl last year, and becoming a father while with the club is something Callejon will never, ever forget.
If you do go, Callejon, we will remember you fondly, and wish you well. Hopefully these past two years are only the launching pad for a great career.