Despite talk earlier in the week that Napoli were very close to a deal for Federico Barba, reports on Thursday indicate that they've switched their focus to another defender with old ties to Maurizio Sarri -- Sampdoria defender Vasco Regini.
Regini, 25, has mostly played left back the last two seasons for Sampdoria, but also has plenty of experience in his career in central defense -- and he's arguably better in the middle. He played for Sarri for a season several years ago with Empoli in Serie B, and with his contract starting to run down at Sampdoria, now would be a good time to strike if Napoli want to add him into their side.
Napoli would reportedly prefer to take Regini on loan with an option to buy in the summer, but Sampdoria owner Massimo Ferrero rejected the idea of loaning him out -- but apparently not of him joining Napoli at all. The two sides are believed to be continuing to work on a deal, and something could develop quite quickly with how busy Samp have been in the transfer market in the last week or so.
He's not the most fleet-footed defender around, but Regini is hard working with a good sense of what's happening in front of him and what it will lead to. He's left-footed like Barba, so would fill that same gap in their depth chart that Napoli have been looking to complete. Regini stays relatively safe with the ball too, playing simpler passes instead of anything high-risk, and using his body well to shield the ball when needed.
It's possible that setting up a move for Regini is more of a backup plan for Barba than an actual priority signing -- rumors of Napoli's approach to Sampdoria only emerged after it was reported that Empoli decided to pause negotiations over Barba until after their match against Napoli at the San Paolo on Sunday. Given how close that will be to the end of the transfer window, having a backup plan ready in case something goes wrong would be smart, especially considering how poorly the end of Napoli's summer transfer window went without backup plans.
Either way, it'd be hard to be upset with signing Regini. He's not the most exciting or talented player around and he's not going to get wildly better, but he's a solid player who would make an excellent backup for a team of Napoli's stature. They could do a whole lot worse -- cough Henrique cough -- and while other options might be preferred for being shinier and fancier, sometimes taking a solid, safe option like Regini is just the right idea.