When most people think of Napoli's needs in this upcoming transfer window, they focus on midfield and along the back line. It's a sensible thing; a more defensive-minded midfielder is needed, as well as better quality and depth all over the defense. Something else that might be nice, though, would be another wide player to rotate with the talented threesome of Jose Callejon, Dries Mertens, and Lorenzo Insigne.
Napoli haven't overlooked that potential, and as such are rumored to be talking to French side Olympique de Marseille about winger Andre Ayew. Despite Napoli beating Marseille twice during this season's Champions League group stage, Ayew was a standout performer, scoring two of the three goals that the Ligue 1 side was score in the two matches.
Several reports indicate that Napoli have lodged a €10 million bid for the 24-year-old Ghanaian winger, who scored seven goals in 27 all-competitions matches. That's actually a bit of a step back for Ayew, who scored 12 in 45 last season, but he missed two and a half months with a knee injury suffered late in the second match between Napoli and Marseille.
At least on paper, Ayew would be a brilliant signing for Napoli. He could seamlessly fit in to the wide attacker rotation with Mertens, Insigne, and Callejon, as well as give Rafa Benitez another true impact sub off the bench when he's not starting. Like Mertens, Ayew can also do a job in a more central playmaking role if needed, further adding to the versatility of combinations that Rafa would have at his disposal. That kind of depth and quality in attacking areas would only serve to make Napoli harder to predict and more dangerous, especially with the ability to properly rotate and rest their players.
Frankly, €10 million would be a bit of a steal for Ayew, who last summer probably would have gone for at least double that. But with Ayew having only one more year on his contract and Marseille's financial stability slipping a bit, a lower-than-valued fee is to be expected with the loss of leverage. That Marseille won't be in the Champions League next season only further reduces their leverage for a player of Ayew's quality. If Napoli do buy Ayew, I'd expect the purchase number to be somewhat higher than what's being reported, but not ridiculously so. Fortunately, Marseille don't have the same reputation of "tough negotiating" that their neighbors in Lyon do.
While obviously this rumor is far from any kind of certainty much less a conclusion, this should be a fun one to keep an eye on and hope for. Ayew is exactly the kind of player Napoli should be going for, and seeing this kind of ambition only bodes well for the summer transfer window.