While Napoli have a few needs to address in this winter's transfer market, you could argue that the greatest need is for a backup to Marek Hamsik who can drive the attack effectively when the captain needs a day off, and provide a creative option off the bench for Napoli's midfield. They may have found their man, and it's a bit of a surprising name: Valencia midfielder Andre Gomes.
Gomes, a 22 year old Portuguese international, has been with Valencia for 18 months after joining from Benfica in slightly odd circumstances -- he had found playing time with the Portugual power hard to come by despite his strong performances as a youth international, thanks in part to a bizarre ownership situation that had seen his rights transferred to a company owned in part by his agent, Jorge Mendes. That situation eventually lead to his transfer to Valencia, though -- in part because Valencia's owner also part-owned that company -- and Gomes has blossomed since moving to Spain.
In 54 all-competitions appearances for Valencia, Gomes has scored seven times and assisted on two other goals for Los Che. This season, he's started 11 matches, scoring twice and earning one assist. Gomes has played particularly well recently, including an eye-opening performance in the 2-2 draw against Real Madrid that cost Rafa Benitez his job, changing the direction of Valencia's attack with ease, and regularly finding teammates in positions to cause a threat to Madrid's goal.
You'd think Valencia wouldn't want to give Gomes up, but they have a glut of talent in midfield and not much cash to work with to help their other needs, most notably in defense. They're reportedly willing to part with him for around €20 million to help finance other deals -- including, perhaps ironically, replacing Gomes with Roberto Soriano, who Napoli almost bought last summer until failing to get paperwork submitted to the league in time to beat the deadline.
Gomes would be an excellent option for Napoli, giving them much-needed depth and versatility in midfield. The price is perhaps a bit high for most fans not to cringe at, but for his talent level -- both now and as he improves in the future -- it's easy to see why Napoli want him and don't seem to be hesitating to meet the price tag. The momentum on rumors surrounding this deal are heading towards a positive ending -- hopefully that keeps up, because Gomes could do a lot of good for Napoli.