Napoli have had a hectic and chaotic and confusing summer mercato, with rumors flying around thick and fast. Some deals have been done almost in the blink of an eye, and others have dragged on and on and on, and on and on and on, and on and on and on before getting done. But with less than two weeks to go, a couple holes still to fill, and an even more chaotic set of rumors winging around, Napoli fans have been wondering what is still to come.
Worry not, says Aurelio De Laurentiis, because Napoli aren't done improving the team.
As part of his Wednesday interview with Radio Kiss Kiss, De Laurentiis promised "surprises" by the close of the transfer window, strongly hinting that one or more players will be coming into the team before the transfer window closes. The rumor mill has certainly reflected that, with reports that Napoli are hip-deep in negotiations to sign one player, and making new overtures for two old targets.
Word emerged Wednesday night that Napoli were deep in talks with Cagliari to sign 19 year old midfielder Godfred Donsah, who impressed in 20 Serie A appearances last season despite being just 18 when the season ended. Cagliari, of course, were relegated last season, in large part because Donsah was one of a very few players they had who played well over the course of the season.
Napoli have apparently been dueling with newly-promoted Serie A side Bologna to try to secure Donsah's signature, and the most recent report has the partenopei in the lead for the Ghanaian starlet. The catch is the structure of the deals being proposed -- Bologna want to buy him outright in a structured deal worth €10 million in total, while Napoli want to pay €3 million up front as a loan fee, with a €7 million purchase option that would become mandatory once certain conditions, likely involving a playing time threshold, are met. Cagliari would obviously prefer to get their money up front, but that doesn't count Napoli out just yet, as they can likely find a way to offer a stronger overall package for the teenager -- and by some reports have already offered several million in potential bonuses that Bologna aren't offering.
Donsah is one of the highest-rated youth players to come out of Ghana in recent years, and it'd be good to see Napoli add such a high-potential player, especially one who already has a season of Serie A football under his belt at his age. Their youth system has some good looking players in it, but no one of Donsah's potential. The fee is a little steep for a teenager, perhaps, but it'd be a smart gamble to take. Signing him would mean no Roberto Soriano as they'd likely play the same role, but that's fine. Donsah is a better fit as a backup in the here and now and has much greater upside down the road.
That's not the only rumor swirling, though, with reports that Napoli have renewed their contact with Udinese over potentially acquiring one or both of Silvan Widmer and Thomas Heurtaux. The Swiss right back and French central defender have impressed for the zebrette the past two seasons, with Widmer especially looking like a bright player for the future. Napoli have been interested in both players off and on for the last year, so it'd be natural to see them return to those targets with the club still having needs at both positions.
The two teams were extraordinarily patient in their deal that saw Napoli acquire Allan earlier this summer, and it wouldn't be surprising to see them work together again after Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli develop a solid relationship with his counterparts at Udinese. It seems like any potential deal for either player is only in a very early stage, so it's entirely possible that nothing will happen. Still, both players would fit well with the current project going on at the San Paolo, so it's well worth monitoring to see if anything does happen on that front.
Buckle up, folks. This summer mercato ride looks like it's about to get bumpy.