Speculation in recent weeks have had Napoli linked to the usual variety pack of players, but two have stood out from the usual churn of rumors. Information being claimed and reported around Kalidou Koulibaly and Andre Ayew has been more solid and has borne a feeling of legitimacy that other rumors have lacked, and now we have more to go on with both players.
Ayew himself addressed the rumors this week in an interview with Football 411 (a part of England's Sky media network), and confirmed that an offer for his services has been made by Napoli. "Yes, there has been an offer from Napoli but that cannot be the future for me, I don't decide the future, the club will and so that is the bottom line.
"I have a running contract with Marseille and we have not sat down to talk and discuss the future for me. My agent confirmed that an offer has been made [by Napoli] but that is good," Ayew went on to say. "It is early days yet for me to say my club will accept this offer and I will move to Napoli or some team next season, if I will move it will even be after the World Cup."
Ayew's position is a pretty understandable and normal one for a player under transfer speculation. What's notable, however, is him specifically acknowledging an offer from Napoli; normally, players are directed to speak only in the vaguest of terms about transfer speculation, and they generally refuse to acknowledge anything about specific clubs. For him to mention Napoli raised some eyebrows and lends more credence to the club's interest in him.
It's also understandable that he'd want to wait until after the World Cup. Ghana is in one of the toughest groups of the tournament, drawn with Germany, Portugal, and the United states in Group G, and it will require all the focus of their staff and players to get through. On the other hand, a likely early exit for Ghana means that Napoli won't have as long to wait to try and negotiate with him as they might with other players in Brazil.
Elsewhere, Koulibaly hasn't played in Genk's last two Jupiler League championship playoff matches in Belgium. Genk were already out of the running for even a Champions League place by the time he was held out, but there's been no reason given by Genk as to why. There's no reports of injury, no reports of poor behavior, he just hasn't been part of their squad since early this month.
That's lead to speculation that Koulibaly is being held out to prevent any risk of injury scuppering a move that would pad Genk's coffers. That speculation only grew when Koulibaly's agent, David Wantier, talked to Fantagazzetta and also confirmed that talks with Napoli have taken place. Wantier told the Italian site that "all is going well," and suggested that more significant news could come as soon as next week.
So. All in all an interesting day on the transfer rumor front. There's still quite a ways to go before the transfer window is even open, but it seems as though Napoli are being very aggressive in seeking out their targets even before the Serie A season ends. This is looking as though it's going to be a very, very interesting summer for Napoli fans.