According to reports in Italy, Napoli are about to make their first acquisition of the January transfer window, agreeing with Torino on terms for a loan deal for defender Nikola Maksimovic. The agreement, first reported by Corriere dello Sport, would see Napoli pay a €2 million loan fee up front, with the option standing at €16 million plus at least €3 million in potential bonuses.
The 24 year old Serbian international was a target of Napoli's last summer, and even seemed quite interested in making the jump. But Torino kept moving the goalposts on what it would take to sign him in terms of a transfer fee, and eventually Napoli gave up and signed Vlad Chiriches instead -- a move that's worked out well, all things considered. Things worked out less well for Torino, who signed Maksimovic to a contract extension only to have him break his foot two matches into the season -- an injury he's expected to return from very soon.
Now with the winter window opening, Torino are apparently willing to let their once-prized defender go, though it reportedly took some tough negotiating to get the job done. Torino apparently wanted a deal worth up to €25 million once all is said and done, while Napoli first offered something worth a total of €18 million. €21 million is a nice middle ground, and while it's certainly a healthy chunk of change Napoli could potentially pay out, structuring the deal as it is, as a loan with the main portion of the expenditure on next season's budget, is smart. We don't know how the purchase option is structured, whether it's an open option or if there's a clause tied to playing time or something similar that eventually triggers it, but either way this isn't a bad bit of business at all for Napoli.
And yes, I was wrong about Maksimovic not coming this winter. I didn't think that Torino would agree to a deal of this structure, and even if they did I didn't think Maksimovic would want to come in to be the fourth central defender on a team that's only given significant minutes to three men at the position. Who knows, though -- maybe Sarri's rotation there has been so limited because he doesn't trust Henrique. That's hardly unreasonable.
The deal is still far from completion, with Maksimovic needing to agree terms with Napoli and having to pass a medical before we see him holding up a shirt at a press conference. In the meantime, though, you can feel free to get excited, because this is a deal worth getting excited over.