It's perhaps an anticlimactic moment considering how we found out the signing was happening, but it's finally done, dusted, and official: Lorenzo Tonelli has put pen to paper and signed with Napoli.
Un benvenuto a Lorenzo Tonelli nel mondo Napoli #ADL pic.twitter.com/UOdMIEKg8n— AurelioDeLaurentiis (@ADeLaurentiis) May 23, 2016
Aurelio De Laurentiis announced the signing after the incredible 4-0 win that saw Napoli secure second place on the last day of the Serie A season, and all the pieces quickly fell into place afterwards. We had to wait for the Italian season to officially end with the Coppa Italia this past weekend before the signing could be completed, but now it's done.
Tonelli, 26, joins after spending his entire career at Empoli, who will reportedly receive €10 million for the defender. Tonelli made over 160 appearances for the club as they fought their way up the ranks and into Serie A, and obviously he has a fair amount of experience with Maurizio Sarri, which should certainly help his integration into the team.
The exact role Tonelli will play for Napoli is a little up in the air right now, and will be determined over the coming months. He's probably Napoli's third or fourth-best central defender, depending on how exactly you feel about Vlad Chiriches, However, with each of Chriiches, Raul Albiol, and Kalidou Koulibaly likely to be sought-after in this summer's transfer market, Tonelli could still wind up playing a very big role for Napoli depending on how things shake out.
Even if all three stay, the demands of the Champions League mean there should be plenty of time for Tonelli to play this season, and if he continues to play as well as he did at Empoli, he could force his way into a bigger role no matter what happens. There's really not much not to like about this deal for Napoli -- a good player at a position of need at a fair price. Hard to ask for more than that from a depth signing.
Before you go, enjoy some of Tonelli's highlight moments in defense: