Even with the Pepe Reina drama seemingly resolved positively, Napoli are still pushing for a new goalkeeper, knowing that they only have their current starter for one more season — and possibly a distracted one. After over a month of speculation that they were chasing Geronimo Rulli, Real Sociedad’s president has publicly acknowledged that negotiations are talking place, but it sounds like it’s not going to be an easy deal to get done.
Are there negotiations underway with Napoli? Yes, but it’s very complicated, especially given the timing. We’ll see how the negotiations go, it’s a very complicated operation.
-Jokin Aperribay (translation source: Football Italia)
Aperribay also mentioned a €30 million asking price, countering Napoli’s last reported offer of €26 million. That’s not a huge gap to overcome, especially with Napoli seeming very motivated to sign Rulli right now — but as the man in charge of Real Sociedad mentioned, there are complications to overcome.
Those complications come not just in the compressed timeframe a deal must be done in — there are less than three full days left in the transfer window now — but in the necessary involvement of Manchester City, Rulli’s former club. It has been repeatedly mentioned in reports of this potential transfer that they have to “sign off” on such a deal, but with little detail as to what that entails.
It’s most likely that City hold a right of first refusal on any transfer Rulli makes on Sociedad as a part of his move to Spain, meaning that they would have the ability to match any transfer bid accepted by Rulli’s current club. They don’t have to decide to match the bid, but a deal cannot be completed until they decide one way or the other.
Even if they do match the bid, Rulli doesn’t have to accept any offer made by City. He’d still be perfectly free to sign with Napoli should he so desire and he made it clear in an interview several weeks ago that playing for “Maradona’s team” would be a dream for him.
This saga is far from over, but hopefully Napoli can get their man, because Geronimo Rulli would be a very good goalkeeper to have for the long term.