This one was only a matter of time, and now it'd come to pass: Gokhan Inler is no longer a Napoli player, having finalized a transfer to Leicester City Wednesday morning.
BREAKING: #lcfc have signed @GokhanInler from @sscnapoli. #WelcomeGokhan pic.twitter.com/hqhWguyL1Y— Leicester City (@LCFC) August 19, 2015
Sadly, they didn't reveal him by having him come out wearing a fox mask.
The fee was "undisclosed" in Leicester's official statement, as they always are, though they did confirm that he signed a three-year contract with the club. Reports have varyingly had his fee between €5 million and €7 million, with Italian-friendly sources leaning closer to €7 million. Based on history, that means the base of the fee, what Napoli are guaranteed to get, is €5 million, with additional bonuses worth another €2 million.
It's perhaps a surprisingly high fee for Inler given that he struggled so badly for most of last season and was inconsistent the year before, but Leicester and Claudio Ranieri have been very willing to spend what it takes to help improve a side that only barely avoided relegation in their Premier League return. Apparently they felt splashing out on Inler was the right direction to go in, which makes sense when you look at their midfield, and so it is that Napoli have sold a midfielder that they didn't feel they needed and have a few million more euros than they did a day ago.
For those who care about such things, Inler will be leaving his long-worn 88 shirt behind in Italy, as English tradition frowns on such high numbers worn by footballers. Instead, he'll be wearing 33 for his new club, in a shirt that, at least for now, looks strange to see him wearing.
Ciao, Gokhan. You may have struggled recently, but you were a great servant for the club while you were here. Hope this works out for you.