So much for that: it looks like Marc Bartra won't be a Napoli player after all.
There was hope Wednesday night when reports emerged that Napoli were in talks with Barcelona and that Bartra had already agreed to the move. Thursday brought a sudden reversal, when both Barcelona and Bartra's agent issued denials that anything resembling those reports were true.
First came Josep Bartomeu, the newly re-elected Barcelona president, who said that his team's transfer business, in and out, is done. "We have a full and balanced team, and [manager] Luis Enrique is happy with the players available." That's a reasonable stance for a club president to take under the circumstances -- Barcelona are under a "transfer" ban and can't register new players until January, leaving them unable to replace Bartra in the depth chart since there's no one in La Masia ready to fully replace him just yet.
That wouldn't have been an insurmountable obstacle, but it dampened the flames of hope quite a fair bit. Bartra's agent, however, took to Twitter with a big ol' bucket of cold water:
.@DiMarzio ,representamos a Marc, la información NO es cierta. Marc NO ha negociado con ningún equipo. Él nunca ha tenido intención de salir
— Magic Players (@magicplayers21) July 23, 2015
To translate, that's agent Javier Diaz telling Gianluca Di Marzio, who first reported the negotiations Wednesday night, that his report was completely untrue, that Bartra has been involved in no transfer talks, and that he has no intention to leave Barcelona.
Well then. The dream is dead.
Fortunately, Napoli still have plenty of time to work on getting another defender in, and they seem to have plenty of options in mind. Now it's just a matter of actually getting the job done.