Two late efforts to get attacking depth have failed for Napoli, as proposed deals for Everton’s Davy Klaassen and Sassuolo’s Matteo Politano have been scuttled late on deadline day. Honestly, though, Napoli fans shouldn’t have been upset, because neither deal would have been good for the club.
Klaassen would have brought some solid depth to the wings with some ability to spell Marek Hamsik in a more attacking midfield role, but after what’s been essentially a lost season for the Dutch attacker, it’s a tough ask for Napoli to bring him in right now. Even as just a loan with a non-mandatory purchase option, the money needed to sign Klaassen — Everton would want to recoup much of the €30 million they spent to sign him — is tough to stomach, especially as he’s a very “old” 24.
Klaassen’s development curve has completely flattened over the last two to three years after a bright start to his career, and he has a long history of knee issues that make the idea of signing him a little tougher to stomach. Add that to his immediate value to Napoli being near nil — he’s cup tied in the Europa League, the one place Napoli would want to play him regularly to rest their starters — and there’s absolutely no reason to sign him. So it’s actually a good thing a deal fell apart because of image rights for once.
That brings us to winger Matteo Politano, a 24 year old Italian having a decent season for Sassuolo. By all reports in Italy, Napoli have made multiple attempts to sign him this month. But Sassuolo have kept demanding more and more money for him, trying to fleece an apparently desperate Napoli, to the point that most recent reports having a whopping €25 million bid being rejected on deadline day.
Now, the market has seen transfer fees bloat significantly over the last couple of years, but that much money for Politano would be ridiculous. Sure, he’s scored 13 goals over the last two and a half years, but most of his better performances have come when teams are focusing on Domenico Berardi on the other wing, giving Politano more space to work with. When Berardi is off the pitch or out of form and things are more balanced defensively, Politano disappears. If he had a ton of upside, such a deal could be worth it, but he doesn’t, and he’s probably not actually worth half of that rumored fee.
Whiffing on two transfers is a bit of a black eye for Napoli, but these aren’t transfers any fan should have wanted to see them make. While it still sounds like there’s some balls in the air, it’s unlikely that we see Napoli make an actual, impactful move. That stings a bit — but at times it’s better to make no move at all than a bad one.