Something very, very interesting has popped up in the last few hours: according to reports coming out of Brazil, mostly through local media company UOL Esporte, Napoli have made an approach for Sao Paulo's dynamic midfielder Ganso, and a deal could be quickly developing.
For those unaware, Ganso, 24, is widely considered one of the best Brazilian players still plying his trade in Brazil. Formerly a teammate of Barcelona's Neymar at Santos, Ganso made a move to rival Sao Paulo about a year and a half ago. More recently, though, Ganso has been reported to be butting heads with new manager Muricy Ramalho, and is looking to finally move to Europe after years of speculation over a move.
Ganso is a gifted playmaker, working mostly behind the striker. He's best with his left foot but still good with his right, has a wide passing range and can put a through ball through the smallest of cracks in a defense for his teammates to run on to. Thanks to Brazil's depth chart being crowded at his position and the favoritism frequently displayed by Felipe Scolari, he only has eight senior international caps, but make no mistake: Ganso can hang with the big boys on the big stage.
All in all, he's pretty much a picture-perfect option for the backup to Marek Hamsik that Napoli fans have been aching for for far too long. Ganso also has the talent to potentially force Hamsik to be at his best to stay in the side, hopefully avoiding prolonged slumps like we saw this year.
While the deal was being described as "imminent" early in the reporting process, things have cooled some, with Sao Paulo and "unnamed sources" trying to downplay the initial furor somewhat. Still, there's enough tangible evidence and reason in this one to stay interested and expect to hear more before too much longer.
Most importantly for any potential deal, Napoli have reportedly reached a tentative agreement with a company called Sonda Group, which holds 68% of Ganso's ownership rights, with Sao Paulo holding the rest. As Italy doesn't permit third-party ownership of players (outside the club co-ownership system, at least), buying out an extra shareholder is a requirement to any deal.
A potential fee has not yet been definitely mentioned, but Sao Paulo bought him for somewhere around €9 million in 2012, and would likely expect to at least recoup that amount in a sale as they wish to reinforce their squad elsewhere. Given that and Sonda's portion of any fee received, I'd expect a deal to total somewhere around €12 million, which could still be a massive coup for a player of Ganso's quality.
We'll bring you more news as we get some to work with. Between this and the seemingly impending Kalidou Koulibaly purchase, it seems that Riccardo Bigon and company mean to strike early and hard this summer, which is a plan I don't mind at all with the way they seem to be going on.