The final, climactic day of the summer transfer window, and Napoli are a busy, busy club. After an already-chaotic summer, they’re trying to wrap up the window with a massive burst of activity, having completed a swathe of deals both in and out in the last week, and working on a few more with the final hours ticking away. There’s a lot to keep track of, but as always, we’re here to help.
What’s Been Done
In: Arkadiusz Milik (Ajax, €32 million), Amadou Diawara (Bologna, €15 million), Piotr Zielinski (Udinese, €14 million), Lorenzo Tonelli (Empoli, €10 million), Marko Rog (Dinamo Zagreb, €2 million loan w/ purchase option), Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland, €1.5 million)
Out: Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus, €94 million), David Lopez (Espanyol, €4 million), Mariano Andujar (Estudiantes, €500,000), Jonathan De Guzman (Chievo Verona, loan), Camilo Zuniga (Watford, loan), Alberto Grassi (Atalanta, loan), Vasco Regini (end of loan), Nathaniel Chalobah (end of loan), Gabriel (end of loan)
Napoli have had a lot of transfer activity this summer, much of it difficult and contentious. Thanks to the massive sale of Gonzalo Higuain, Napoli still have about €25 million to spend just to get to an even net spend -- and they could be about to spend that and then some to sign one defender. More on that in a minute.
Of note, though, is that Napoli came close on several other players -- most notably Hector Herrera and Axel Witsel -- only for the deal to fall apart late in the process for varying reasons. Napoli have been willing to spend big all summer long, it’s just been actually getting the deal finalized that’s been a problem.
What’s In The Works
Napoli are believed to be a medical and some paperwork away from signing Nikola Maksimovic from Torino for some €27 million, bringing a positive end to over a year’s worth of mercato drama. A talented and versatile defender, Maksimovic would be a welcome addition to Napoli’s back line -- and perhaps not the only one.
They’re also still believed to be working on bringing young Rodrigo Caio from Brazil, a talented young defender who starred in Brazil’s defense en route to winning Olympic gold earlier this summer. Caio is a player who can help Napoli now and become a major part of the squad in the future, and by all appearances would be an excellent signing.
There’s also been some talk about Napoli signing another striker, but with two apparent efforts to sign strikers failing over the weekend and Manolo Gabbiadini looking set to stay, that seems like a long shot.
Who Could Leave
Mirko Valdifiori is expected to go, actively en route to Turin at the time of this writing to take a medical for Torino as part of the deal to sign Maksimovic. Apparently by train. Because that’s a thing. Originally it was reported that the disappointing midfielder would join Turin’s second team on loan, but some reports in the last few hours point to a possible permanent deal.
Also, with one central defender a near-lock to sign and another looking strongly possible, there are some reports that Napoli might be willing to part with Raul Albiol or Vlad Chiriches for the right price. That would likely only happen if Caio shows up along with Maksimovic, but such a departure would make sense with the growing logjam at the position.
There are a handful of players who could leave on loan as well. Josip Radosevic, Igor Lasicki, and Roberto Insigne are all younger players who could probably use more seasoning and playing time elsewhere, and could benefit from a good loan destination. Also, with both Luigi Sepe and Rafael Cabral in the squad, Napoli should think hard about loaning one out to make sure he gets playing time, as both keepers still need to develop further.
What Napoli Should Buy
A goalkeeper, first and foremost. Pepe Reina is getting old and getting slow, and it’s costing Napoli goals. Even with his recent thigh injury in mind -- itself a concern given his recent history of such injuries -- he’s taken a marked slide from where he was a few years ago, and even compared to just one year ago. They need someone talented enough to push him for playing time and even potentially usurp his starting role, and young enough to keep developing into the top-level keeper they need in the years to come.
Also, while Maksimovic is wonderfully versatile and can play at right back, Napoli should seriously consider getting Elseid Hysaj a proper backup. Christian Maggio is still here, yes, but the veteran is a broken shell of what he once was, now slow in so many ways and not capable of playing at the level Napoli need.
What To Expect
The signing of Maksimovic should be done soon. Caio could be done today, though that feels like maybe more of a January signing to be honest. It feels like Napoli have one more big ace up their sleeve, though, so expect to keep hearing a huge raft of rumors surrounding the partenopei right up to the deadline.
Let’s just hope they file all their paperwork on time this time around.