Just a week ago, it looked like Napoli's chances of signing Sime Vrsaljko were pretty close to nil. The partenopei wanted the Croatian international right back, but couldn't overcome a seeming gap in valuation with Sassuolo. Then Juventus swooped in, and everything looked dead and dismal.
Not. So. Fast.
Any and all talk of Vrsalkjo joining the defending Serie A champs have gone up in smoke after Max Allegri re-affirmed Stephan Lichsteiner as his starting right back, opening the door for Napoli to come back in for their preferred target at the crucial right back position.
According to reports starting with -- the admittedly sometimes dubious -- Calciomercato.com, Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli spent most of the day in Milan negotiating with Sassuolo's representatives and Vrsaljko's agent. Napoli's best offer was reportedly around €8 million plus a permanent swap of Omar El Kaddouri. Despite Sassuolo manager Eusebio Di Francesco reportedly being very interested in acquiring El Kaddouri to help rebuild his now-depleted attack, the club are hesitant to accept a swap deal for Vrsaljko as Genoa hold a large sell-on clause in his contract, meaning Sassuolo rather get a higher fee for the fullback in order to actually get more of a transfer fee.
Fortunately for Napoli, Sassuolo have reportedly come down from their valuation of Vrsaljko, having previously declared that he was off limits unless someone met their price that was believed to be notably north of €15 million. Current reports suggest that they'll settle for €14 million, which is maybe a little high a price for someone currently a fair ways from their ceiling, but is also much easier to digest than Sassuolo's previous demands.
While it seems like there's definitely still some distance to go in this deal, there's a lot more promise now than there was even yesterday. At the right price, Vrsaljko would be a great get for Napoli. Now go get the job done, guys.