It’s about as official as it gets without pen hitting paper: Leonardo Pavoletti will be Napoli’s first signing in January. The move was confirmed by Genoa manager Ivan Juric after his team’s win over Fiorentina on Thursday, and will definitely kick off the winter transfer window in Italy.
He turned [the transfer] down in the summer, but now seems to have decided he will go.
It’s disappointing, because he’s a splendid guy who really cares about the club colours.
-Translated quote source: Football Italia
Pavoletti will reportedly transfer for around €18 million, according to reports that came out earlier in the week. The Livorno-born striker has scored just three goals this season thanks to injury struggles, but the 28 year old was looking better before his latest injury setback, which he’s due back from shortly.
Despite this season’s struggles, though, Pavoletti came onto Napoli radar because of his strong 14-goal season a year ago for Genoa. While he’s not an overwhelming athletic specimen or blessed with audacious skill on the ball, Pavoletti still has plenty of talents that can help Napoli — he’s strong on the ball, holds up play excellently, and has an instinctual knack for how to support his fellow attackers and make a given play more likely to end in a goal.
While many fans will likely knock the price of this deal given that Pavoletti isn’t an elite goalscorer and has struggled this season, it’s not completely out of the realm of reason, especially with the transfer market in general inflating heavily over the last few years. It’s still likely a little expensive compared to his worth, but, well, that happens in the winter transfer market.
No matter what, Napoli are getting a solid player who can help diversify them a bit tactically and improves their depth in a key position by quite a lot. The question now is this: what does this mean for Manolo Gabbiadini?