Napoli’s Transfer Priorities

The reigning Italian champions find themselves in a position that is pretty new for them. They prepare to go into the next season as ‘the hunted’ for the first time in 33 years. But having won so convincingly, do they try and kick on and try to win back-to-back or will they let the season play out and do the bare minimum in this window?


Napoli ended the season in cruise control since maybe March it was a matter of when they would be crowned champions rather than if. The Partenopei led as much as 19 points at points during the season and were getting on well in Europe too, reaching their first-ever Champions League quarterfinal.


Understandably, Europe’s elite will be chomping at the bit this summer to raid Napoli for their abundance of talent but other than defender Kim Min-jae, who has joined Bayern Munich for €50 million after the Bavarians triggered his release clause, Napoli have done a very good job of keeping and tying down their best players for the foreseeable future. Star striker Victor Osimhen is reportedly close to signing an extension at the club.


Maybe Napoli feels like they don’t have to improve to challenge for the league again as long as they don’t lose key players. Milan have lost Sando Tonali, Inter have lost Marcel Brozovic and Andre Onana, Lazio have lost Sergej Milenkovic-Savic, and Juventus could lose Dusan Vlahovic. All very crucial players for their teams. So Napoli’s biggest achievement could be just holding on, but if they want to make a run in Europe as president Aurelio De Laurentiis said, they must improve in two very key areas.


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Firstly, and most importantly Napoli must at least attempt to replace centre back Kim Min-jae. It will not be easy because he was easily one of the best defenders in the world last year and was a massive part of Napoli’s play. His raw athleticism and speed allowed Napoli to press high and suffocate teams in their own half.


His ability on the ball is excellent to so he was able to start plenty of attacks for Napoli with his pinpoint passing. If Napoli wants to be anywhere close to what they were a season ago they need to get a centre back with similar qualities to a Kim or a Koulibaly from the year before that.


Another key position for Napoli to improve on, perhaps not as important as replacing Kim, is the right wing. If Napoli have any intention of being a formidable team they need their third attacker to contribute in front of goal. Last season Napoli’s front three combined for 49 goals and 25 assists, Osihmen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia combined for 45 of those goals and 21 assists.


Although having two players producing at such a high level is usually good enough, Napoli absolutely needs a right winger with production to match the other two if they want to not only win the league again but go a step further in the Champions League. Finding an upgrade on Hirving Lozano and Matteo Politano could help elevate Napoli to another level.


That being said, Napoli remains in a very strong position, the main core of the team that was so dominant last season still remains and they have good strength in depth. Unlike their Serie A counterparts, they aren’t in any need to sell their players so they can just build. President Aurelio De Laurentiis prides himself in keeping on top of the club’s finances and being in a position where you can reject bids over €100 million for your star striker speaks volumes about the strong financial position the club is in. 


By: Mohamed Salad / @MohamedASalad

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Mondadori Portfolio