Last Serie A's top scorer joined for PSG for €63m. The club reinvested that huge amount to sign Gonzalo Higuain, Pepe Reina, José Maria Callejon, Dries Mertens. Is Napoli even stronger?
If we want to evaluate SSC Napoli's 2013 transfer market, probably we can't use our magnifying glass to focus on this last period, in which the club received €70 million and spent €87 million. We have to produce a magnified image that includes the last two off seasons .
We have to put a marker on our timeline that should start on July 2, 2012, when Paris Saint Germain signed Ezequiel Lavezzi, the Argentinean forward, on a four-year deal (about € 30 millions for Italian club).
At the time, the wonderful trio Lavezzi-Cavani-Hamšík - nicknamed The Three Tenors – was dismantled at the end of an important season, which culminated in the conquer of the Italian Cup.
Lavezzi was a symbol of the Neapolitan Renaissance with Marek Hamšík, Walter Gargano (el uruguayo) and the captain Paolo Cannavaro.
In the last season - without el Pocho - coach Walter Mazzarri gave a chance to the young winger Lorenzo Insigne, exploited Goran Pandev (the talented striker Macedonian), allowing Hamšík and Cavani to play at the best of their abilities. Edinson Cavani was the top scorer of Serie A with 29 goals and Hamšík (11 goals) was the top assist-man. And Napoli took the second place behind Juventus.
We have to up-date our timeline and put other markers on May 27 and on July 2013, when it was announced that Rafa Benítez had signed for Napoli and Cavani signed for Paris Saint Germain, joining Lavezzi in Les Rouge-et-Bleu.
Cavani's transfer is not a glorious mystery or a theological matter, but someone said that el Matador - nicknamed also the athlete of Christ - was persuaded by 'God's money' (five-year contract worth an annual €10 million). Probably President De Laurentiis walked the same road of Cavani, when Les Parisiens used a payout clause of €64 million.
After those moments - the arrival of the Spaniard and the departure of the second tenor - Napoli's started writing new chapters. Marek Hamšík is the last but not least tenor of Azzurri and committed his future to SSC Napoli until 2018. The Slovak resembles Steven Gerrard, but mister Rafa said: "They are different, Hamšík doesn't have Gerrard's strength but more tactical intelligence. He is the strength of this team at this time". We are sure this contract extension is one of best operation's this summer.
Let's talk about other transfers. The goalkeeper Pepe Reina (on loan from Liverpool), the center- back Raul Albíol and the winger José Maria Callejón (both from Real Madrid four-year contract), Dries Mertens (€9,5 million to PSV) represent important human resources in a club without great international experience that will play Uefa Champions League.
The Colombian Zapata at the moment is an unknown entity. He will be the first alternative to Gonzalo Higuaín. Without any dooubts, Napoli's main investment was the purchase of the French-born Argentine striker (€40 million).
We already wrote that El Pipita doesn't need endorsements, thanks to his 107 goals in 190 matches with Real Madrid. But we think Napoli could suffer this season, especially without Walter Gargano (on loan to Parma) and without a further experienced defender. Astori (Cagliari), Skrtel (Liverpool) and Mascherano (Barcelona) were the prohibited dreams of supporters in the last days of the market, but none came to Naples.
Thanks to our reviewer Lorenzo Franceschi Bicchierai