It is no secret that Napoli are trying to upgrade at the right-wing position. Looking at this Napoli team, there are very few weaknesses but the right wing is certainly a spot where they can upgrade. Last season’s Italian Champions scored over 100 goals in all competitions, however, Hirving Lozano and Matteo Politano combined for only 8 goals and 8 assists. When Napoli signed Lozano for €40 million in 2019, he came in as a goal-scoring winger having scored 17 league goals each of the previous two seasons.
In 120 league games at Napoli, Lozano has only registered 23 goals and 12 assists. A very underwhelming return for a player that came in with such high expectations on extremely high wages. But with only a year left on his current contract, it feels almost certain that Napoli will cut ties and move on. Reports coming out of Naples seem very clear, Lozano renews taking a substantial pay cut or he leaves this summer and the latter seems the likeliest outcome
Napoli will look to replace him with a player that can add to the firepower of Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, here are 3 players that Napoli should consider who could take them to the next level:
The 28-year-old Ivorian winger was very close to joining Napoli in 2019 before he decided to join Arsenal. A player like Nicolas Pepe would thrive in this Napoli team and could really be the missing piece on that right-hand side since Jose Callejon vacated the position. Pepe spent last season on loan at Nice where he started the season very well and was easily one of their more consistent players until he was sidelined with a knee injury.
Pepe would fit seamlessly into this Napoli side, an attacking side that are constantly on the front foot looking to score goals and create chances. At Napoli, he would have the freedom to pick up the ball in wide areas, isolate defenders and do what he does best. Chances are that Arsenal could terminate his contract so Napoli could get him for free just 3 years after bidding over €70 million. This move makes too much sense to pass up and if Pepe can get back to fitness, this could be the missing piece in an already frightening attacking line.
A signing that would be right up President Aurelio De Laurentiis’ ally. He made it pretty clear that he wanted to sign a Japanese player this summer, and what better one than Takefusa Kubo? A winger that can play on both sides who burst onto the scene this past season with Real Sociedad helping them secure their first top 4 finish in 10 years. Kubo finished with the season second in goals (9) and assists (7) for Real Sociedad.
Kubo, although only 22 years old, has as much experience in Europe as most. He arrived in Spain as a 10-year-old, joining Barcelona Youth and playing at the famous La Masia academy for almost 5 years before returning to Japan to start his professional career. It wasn’t long before he was back in however, it wasn’t long before he was back in Spain but this time as a Real Madrid player.
Although he didn’t make any appearances for Real Madrid, he spent a few seasons on loan to various Spanish teams before finally making the move to Real Sociedad. Kubo has already made over 120 La Liga appearances in his young career and it looks like he is finally ready to take the next step and fulfill all that promise he showed as a young boy. Napoli presents an amazing platform for him to do just that. The reigning Italian champions would do well to add another exciting attacker to their team.
Go big or go home right? At the start of the window rumors that Napoli were interested in Federico Chiesa and social media had a meltdown. But this wouldn’t be as farfetched as people had initially assumed. There have been a few reports suggesting a rift between Juventus coach Massimilano Allegri and the star winger which could lead to him wanting to leave.
Napoli have never been scared to spend big when they truly believe in a player and Chiesa would be a dream signing for the Partenopei and would almost certainly make them favorites to retain their league crown and even make a significant run in the Champions League next season.
However, this won’t be an easy operation, rarely do rivals sell their best players to a direct rival but if there is even the slightest chance Napoli should be all over it. Although Chiesa hasn’t looked the same since coming back from a horrible knee injury, players with that kind of talent are worth the risk. The prospect of Chiesa joining a forward line of Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia is incredible and should certainly be explored.
By: Mohamed Salad / @MohamedASalad
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Adam Pretty – FIFA