We’re in the last few days of the transfer window, and despite everyone expecting the biggest stories around Napoli to be about players coming in, instead they’re about potential departures. First there’s the evolving Pepe Reina to Paris Saint-Germain situation-slash-annoyance, and now there’s something even more frustrating: a super-agent trying to flog Lorenzo Insigne to Barcelona.
That super agent is the inimitable Mino Raiola, who has reportedly just recently become the agent for Insigne, news that will on its own make many Napoli fans cringe. But worse is that he’s actively agitating for a move to Barcelona, calling him the “ideal replacement” for the departed Neymar.
Raiola is a known wind-up merchant in the football world, constantly trying to move his clients around. Napoli fans are familiar with him thanks to him constantly whining in the media about Marek Hamsik not signing with him so he can make millions of euros off his career, and fans all over are familiar with him constantly forcing big-money moves so that he can make that money elsewhere.
Now, to be fair, Raiola is, ostensibly, operating in the best interests of his clients. He’s constantly trying to elevate their profile and make them as much money as possible and put them into positions to succeed. His goals are selfish, yes — Raiola is a very rich man because of his work, after all — but what he does is, on the surface, good for his clients. He’s just awful in how he goes about it.
And while Insigne has expressed in the past that a move to Barcelona would be a dream, he’s also said over and over that there’s nowhere he’d rather play than Napoli. So to see him signing with a super-agent like Raiola, while flattering to see him getting that kind of acknowledgement for his skill, is deeply concerning when it comes to trying to read his intentions. Suffice it to say, no matter what Insigne intends, this is a bad look for him right now.
Fortunately, it doesn’t look like a Barcelona move is imminent — Napoli reportedly rejected a €60 million bid earlier in the summer from the blaugranes with a “don’t bother bidding any amount” reply, and they just bought Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund to fill their Neymar-sized hole in attack. Insigne would obviously be an upgrade over Dembele in several ways, but it still doesn’t seem like he’s about to jump ship — yet.
Don’t expect this to be the last we hear from Raiola, on the matter, though. That clown loves to hear himself talk.