Pescara are busy gearing up for a run in the promotion playoffs in Serie B and will be hoping to make the rise to Serie A in the coming weeks, but in the meantime one of their stars is at the center of numerous transfer rumors, both in Italy and abroad. Striker Gialuca Lapadula has been one of the biggest stars of Italy's second division and is an oft-named transfer target, with Napoli linked to him heavily since the winter. His club have now named an asking price, though, and it's one that should give the partenopei pause.
According to Pescara's president, Daniele Sebastiani, anyone who wants Lapadula will have to pony up €10 million to get him, double the fee they were reportedly considering in January. When you look at the 26 goals and 10 assists that Lapadula has put together this season for Pescara, that seems like a pretty reasonable fee, and one that many teams like Napoli or Juventus or even Leicester City in the Premier League shouldn't hesitate to pay, there are other factors involved that make such a deal look a lot less promising.
Lapadula is 26, an age when most strikers are hitting their peak, suggesting that he has little, if any, room for improvement to be made. Considering that this was his big breakout year and that it came in Serie B, it isn't super promising that Lapadula will have what it takes to make an impact for a team like Napoli that wants to fight for a Serie A title and be competitive with the best teams in the Champions League.
"But wait," you ask, "didn't he score 20 goals with Teramo and 24 with San Marino?" Yes, he did. In Lega Pro and Serie D. And his only top-division experience came in Slovenia with Gorica, when he scored 10 goals in a competition that probably isn't quite as good as Serie B. His only other time in Serie B was with Cesena three seasons ago, and he was so bad then that they ended his loan early.
In the end, Lapadula's lack of high-level experience coupled with his age just screams "DON'T SPEND REAL MONEY," and the fee Pescara is asking for definitely qualifies as real money.
Hopefully Lapadula does find success in Serie A somewhere, and honestly the best thing for his career might be to help Pescara stay promoted and to stay with them. He could have been an interesting piece for Napoli to bring in as a reserve, but at the asking price being mooted, he's just too high-risk a signing to be worth it, especially in a summer that Napoli need to get exactly right with the Champions League on the horizon.
Pass on this one, Napoli, and get someone with either higher upside or a greater guarantee of impact. Or, heck, get someone with both. Just don't spend that much on Lapadula. He's a decent player, perhaps even a good one, but the risk just doesn't work for Napoli right now.