I’m a bit of a secret Napoli fan. The Euro elite clubs have stayed pretty much the same in the last 10 years. Man Utd, the Milans, Juve, Barca, Real, etc. When a new club has broken into this group it’s mostly been because of big money, such as City. Meanwhile Napoli have dragged themselves up from bankruptcy 8 years ago to the Champions league places and 3rd in Serie A.
During this time they’ve amassed one of the most talented young squads on the continent. But despite their success they still are not quiet amongst the top teams, and find themselves at risk of being pillaged for their stars come this summer.
But Napoli aren’t going down without a fight.
Chelsea and Man City are said to be in a tug of war for Argentine striker Ezequiel Lavezzi. The 26 year old striker’s current contract is only (used in the insane football wages context) £35,000 a week. This contract also has a buy out clause of £27 million. Chelsea, City or others from Europe look to be increasingly willing to pay this amount for such a proven talent.
Napoli have been spurred into action, and are set to up Lavezzi’s contract, and the release fee within it. But how much can they afford? Strike partner Edinson Cavani is the clubs top earner, but his wage of £40,000 a week is only a slight step up. Even if Napoli max out at £50,000 it’s still not what Lavezzi would be earning at another club.
So is it all about money? No, and Lavezzi has always seemed very happy at the club. Napoli FC, like Newcastle, is very much the heart of the city and has a large and passionate fan base, that treats its stars well. All this has seen the clubs top players stay loyal so far. But all players want the chance to win silverware, and if this also comes with a bigger pay check then it would be hard to Lavezzi staying in the south of Italy long. Especially as his girlfriend recently described the city as ‘Sh*t’ after being robbed at gun point.
The club have good motivation to fight hard for the player, as they will want to avoid a domino effect. If Lavezzi leaves Cavani and Hamsik may be next.
All of the Prems big clubs will be hovering around Napoli this summer, waiting to swoop. Napoli may not have the money to fend them off.
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