When Napoli bought Alberto Grassi in January, it was widely reported that the partenopei had secured a purchase option on another Atalanta player for this summer. Just which player that they got the option on was a matter of some debate -- some thought it might have been young goalkeeper Marco Sportiello, but other rumors linked Napoli to one of a few different midfielders. Now one of those players has spoken out, and we know exactly which player it is that Napoli hold that option on: 24 year old Dutch midfielder Marten de Roon.
While some fans may be disappointed to be missing out on Sportiello, they shouldn't be sad at the chance to land de Roon. He's an excellent young defensive midfielder who controls his area well, is safe if unexciting in possession, and and brings excellent energy and technique to his spot on the field. Think of him as a younger, better, faster version of David Lopez and you won't be far wrong.
It also sounds like de Roon might even be in favor of the idea of joining Napoli in the summer.
Napoli has an option to acquire me, they have an agreement with Atalanta but I don't have to do anything. I won't deny it's a huge compliment for what I'm currently doing.
-Source: Gianluca di Marzio
The fact that de Roon himself confirmed the purchase option is interesting -- normally we hear about these from agents, or occasionally the team that currently holds the player's rights, in this case Atalanta. The amount of the option is unknown -- de Roon didn't say, and likely doesn't actually know. What is known is that Napoli will be very likely to want to trigger that purchase option this summer, especially if he continues his fine form that he's displayed so far this season.
So that's one mystery solved. Now we just need to figure out if Napoli plan on bringing the talented young midfielder in and how much he'll cost.