Napoli continue to gallop despite being already certain of their final position and victimized Inter on Sunday, which still had and has a lot to play for, putting together the most dominant performance of the week despite giving up a late consolation goal.
Most of the big stuff was done prior to deadline day in Serie A, but it still had a little bit of drama with Simone Zaza picking Torino over Sampdoria after the Blucerchiati had sealed the deal with Valencia. He will now form an interesting couple with Andrea Belotti and the Granata also brought in another familiar face: Roberto Soriano from Villarreal. Two valuable additions that might allow them to seriously challenge for a Europa League spot this year. They also obtained on loan the right back Ola Aina from Chelsea and the centre-back Koffi Djidji from Nantes to complete the defence. Continue reading →
The departure of Pepe Reina, who could not come to terms with Aurelio De Laurentiis on a multi-year contract, was already certain for months, but it still took a while for Napoli to identify their new starting goalkeeper: in the end, the choice fell upon Udinese’s prospect Alex Meret. He was purchased for 22M and signed a five-year contract.
Highly rated for years in the youth system, Meret has played just two seasons in the pros, both on loan at SPAL, first in Serie B and then in the top league. He certainly confirmed his potential and showed impressive physical traits and technique last year. The gifted 21-year-old has also a lot of room to grow and so it is a forward-looking move for the Partenopei.
The one issue he encountered so far are injuries. He missed the beginning of last season due to sports-hernia and its long recovery from surgery, then went down late with a shoulder trauma. Obviously, durability is extremely important for such a position and the club will be hoping there are not any relapses.
Before deciding to push for Meret, the Azzurri had set their eyes on Bernd Leno, who moved to Arsenal, Rui Patricio, who transferred to Wolverhampton, Peter Cech and Alphonse Areola, but ultimately went with an Italian talent with Serie A experience, even if limited. They will get also a new back-up in the deal: the veteran Orestis Karnezis, who did not play much at Watford last season but had three solid seasons at Udinese before being dispatched too quickly to make room for Simone Scuffet, who did not pan out.