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Mercato Madness: More On The Verge?

Napoli have reportedly agreed a fee for a left back, and continue to work on Etienne Capoue and others.

Ciao, Pablo.
Ciao, Pablo.
Dino Panato

With the transfer deadline fast approaching, Napoli's staff are working hard to reinforce the club. Even with the instant impact provided by Jorginho and the impending arrival of Henrique, there's still several areas of the squad that need to be addressed. Fortunately, it seems that Napoli seems intent on getting the squad as strong as possible by the time January is over.

The latest deal rumored to be complete is one for Saint-Etienne fullback Faouzi Ghoulam. The Algerian international left back is 22 years old, but already has 97 senior squad matches with his club, and four caps for his country. He's spent his entire career to date with Saint-Etienne, but his is a selling club, and they've deemed this to be the time to cash in on their asset.

I've had the chance to observe him a number of times over the last year while watching Kurt Zouma (now there's a defensive prospect to drool over), and while Ghoulam isn't a "name" among young players, he still appears to have a solid future ahead of him. He's certainly an upgrade on what Napoli has gotten from Pablo Armero and Anthony Reveillere at left back this season, and will allow Rafa Benitez a measure of flexibility in how he uses Camilo Zuniga once he finally returns to health.

Napoli have supposedly agreed to a €5 million deal with Saint-Etienne to acquire Ghoulam, pending a medical that's supposed to be done today. Reportedly, this means that Pablo Armero will soon be on his way out of Naples, with AC Milan as the most rumored destination. With how shockingly poor the Colombian has been this season, he won't be missed.

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In other various news, there's a rumor afloat that Napoli are sniffing around out-of-favor Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense, even if Napoli can't retain Pepe Reina after his loan expires; Rafael has looked great when called upon, and Napoli have already signed next season's backup in Mariano Andujar. Marchetti is a good keeper and would be a good option in case Napoli aren't 100% convinced that Rafael isn't ready for the job on a full-time basis, but this one just isn't passing the smell test.

Also, in today's update of the ongoing Etienne Capoue saga: Tottenham has reportedly rejected another bid. Napoli plan to keep pushing to get it done. In other words, nothing has changed.