Napoli's pursuit of Piotr Zielinski this summer has been complicated and fraught with twists and turns, but it looks as though it's finally coming to a positive end. La Repubblica reports that Udinese have rejected a €14 million offer from Liverpool -- thought for some time to be the inevitable landing spot for Zielinski -- and have accepted an offer from Napoli of the same value, and that also includes Camilo Zuniga heading the other way.
It's a complicated deal and one that's taken a long time to come together. Napoli first started pursuing Zielinski several months ago, and tabled an offer after the season to open negotiations. It seemed at first that they were about to land the talented young midfielder, but then reports came out that Zielinski was unhappy with their contract offer and that he wanted to go elsewhere.
Enter Liverpool. Manager Jurgen Klopp was apparently very keen on bringing in the Polish international, but had to wait for the international transfer window to open to make a move happen. In the meantime, Liverpool made their own offer, and Klopp and other Liverpool representatives apparently spent a lot of time talking to Zielinski's representatives about a contract -- something that apparently angered Udinese, who hadn't yet accepted the offer Liverpool made.
That anger apparently lead Udinese to reject Liverpool's offer once the transfer window opened, and to accept Napoli's similarly-valued offer of €14 million plus Zuniga. Zuniga would, in turn, be sent to Watford on loan to reunite with Walter Mazzarri, in the same fashion that Miguel Britos headed to the English club owned by the Pozzo family last year in the Allan deal.
Zielinski, for his part, was apparently sated by an increased wage offer by Napoli, and offer that was made through Udinese instead of directly as Liverpool did. Napoli are working to get the deal finalized quickly, as apparently AC Milan are lurking in the shadows considering making an offer of their own, and they'd certainly be able to offer a similarly tempting package to Udinese. The Zebrette, on the other hand, seem to want to build a positive transfer relationship with Napoli, so it's unlikely that they'd put that relationship at risk by torpedoing this deal now that it's close to done.
If Napoli get this deal done, it'd be a good thing in the long run for the club. It'd be a bit pricey, but dumping Zuniga and getting a productive young midfielder who knows Maurizio Sarri's methods -- he was at Empoli on loan the last two seasons -- and can give Napoli a Marek Hamsik backup and possible long-term replacement makes it a gamble worth taking. There's very little reason not to like this move if it comes to fruition, so fingers crossed that it's completed quickly and smoothly.