The transfer market spins and turns and comes round and round again. One name falls off the radar, and another rises. Right now, the rising name for Napoli is that of Mario Lemina, a 21 year old Gabon-born midfielder currently plying his trade for Olympique Marseille in France.
Napoli have been aggressively seeking another midfielder of late, especially since they still lack a clear backup to Marek Hamsik. Lemina doesn't exactly fill that role -- traditionally he's been used by Marseille in either a deeper playmaking role or as a box-to-box midfielder closer to how Napoli have been using Allan and David Lopez. That said, he's got a solid set of passing skills that can be developed and nurtured, and for the right price, he'd be well worth getting.
Lemina has played 49 all-competitions matches for Marseille since he joined them from Lorient two years ago, and despite being just days from turning 22, he's looked damned impressive doing it. Yes, Ligue 1 is a different league, but that he's played at as high a level as he has this young is a promising sign. Lemina can be a solid piece for Napoli now as part of a rebuilding squad, and hopefully over the next few years he can continue to show his so-far impressive growth and be a part of Napoli's long-term core.
While talks seem to be going very well, with Cristiano Giuntoli having what's been described as very positive meetings with Marseille reps and with Lemina's agents, we still haven't heard much about terms of the deal. No one can quite agree on details, whether it's a straight purchase or a loan with an option, and there's zilch on any financial details so far. Strangely enough, that's actually fairly promising as to the odds of getting something done, given the documented meetings that have taken place -- it means everyone's too busy talking to each other to do much leaking.
So while we don't have a lock yet, things actually look very positive right now. Lemina would be a solid signing that makes good sense, and as long as the price fits, it'd be awfully hard to complain. Don't pour the champagne yet, but it might be good to get it on ice.