There's been an interesting rumor buzzing around Napoli over the weekend that could quickly be turning into something much more. Napoli were reportedly showing a lot of interest in Juventus midfielder Roberto Pereyra, and on Monday are reported to be meeting with his agents ahead of a potential transfer.
That's a big step to be taking, but with Juventus believed to be very willing to sell Pereyra this summer and with West Ham and Zenit circling, aggression and fast moves will be needed if they really do want to sign him. And make no mistake -- the 25 year old Argentina international would be well worth signing for Napoli.
An attacking midfielder who works best in the middle but can also function well as a wide playmaker, Pereyra brings a versatile and creative edge to Napoli's midfield that they could use. He has the ability to be an impact player starting from the first whistle or a game-changing player off the bench, and his quality and versatility would be more than welcome to see for Napoli fans. With the asking price supposedly around €18 million, it's not a cheap transfer, but it's one that Pereyra should definitely be worth.
Pereyra only played 13 times for Juventus last season thanks to various injuries, but he started 27 league matches for them two seasons ago, and started over 30 matches for Udinese in each of the two prior seasons. Importantly for Napoli, he also has Champions League experience, playing 14 times in the competition for Juventus over the past two years. Pereyra has a wealth of experience for his age, showing that he can contribute and succeed at a very high level -- and with his talents and upside, he can become a huge player for Napoli if things break right.
This pursuit likely signals the end of Napoli's chase of Piotr Zielinski, but that's not entirely a bad thing -- Udinese are believed to have raised their transfer demands again, and with Zielinski continuing to drag his feet in contract talks, it was clear that was going nowhere. Pereyra seems much more motivated and Juventus seem to want to act quickly, which is a win-win for Napoli.
There were reports of a potential holdup in negotiations, that Aurelio De Laurentiis wanted Pereyra to break his sponsorship with Nike as part of his image rights obsession. Those reports have largely gone away, though, and never made much sense in the first place -- equipment sponsorships for players at Pereyra's more limited level of international exposure rarely include image rights, and several other current and former notable Napoli players have had equipment sponsorshops that De Laurentiis had no issues with.
Hopefully these reports are true and that the deal comes to a quick conclusion -- signing Pereyra would only be good for Napoli, and he could be a big, big part of this team both this season and in the future.