Napoli are back in training and have already officially added their first new player of the summer, and now it’s starting to look like they might be about to sign a second, with the agent of Osasuna youngster Alex Berenguer saying that he’s “optimistic” about a signing in the immediate future.
Talks are in an advanced stage, we’re very close, but still need to wait a little longer. The clubs ordered me not to talk, but I’m optimistic that the deal will go through.
-Translation source: Football Italia
Napoli signing another winger immediately after adding one in Adam Ounas seems a little odd, which raises a few red flags as to the veracity of the claims of Berenguer’s agent. The 22 year old Spaniard is certainly talented enough to warrant Napoli’s attention, but Ounas is the better prospect, and after signing him, Napoli’s attention and resources would be better spent elsewhere — though Berenguer does have a fair amount of experience playing at both fullback positions.
But if Napoli were to sign Berenguer, there’s plenty of reason to be excited about him. Like Ounas, he’s not an outright burner in terms of straight-line speed, but he can change direction in a hurry and he’s plenty quick in tight spaces. He seems to be excellent with the ball at his feet, and while his finishing touch needs a bit of work, he’s god a good eye for passes in the final third and seems to have a knack for knowing where he needs to be to help his team.
He’s still very raw, with only two years of first-team football under his belt, but Berenguer still made 22 starts in La Liga for Osasuna last year, with another seven appearances off the bench. He only scored one goal all season, but his six assists lead the team.
If Napoli were to sign Berenguer, he could be worth trying to convert to a full-time fullback. His defensive technique is probably the most raw part of his game, but he does show potential at the back, and his work rate is strong enough to make it worth trying. He would be more of an attacking option at fullback for the time being rather than a reliable defender, but that can still make him a valuable toolbox reserve player for Napoli.
We’re still relying on the word of an agent to say that this deal is close, and that’s never reliable — for all we know Berenguer’s agent is trying to gain leverage in another negotiation by making a deal sound close — but for now there’s at least some reason to think that something could be happening soon.