Scouting, Giuntoli’s low cost intuitions, important renunciations, investments that pay off: the background of a championship market. And if “Di Lorenzo costs as much as Maradona”…
Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia steal everyone’s eyes, but it’s good to look beyond to really find out how the Naples miracle was born. Last summer was magical, marked by perfect operations. However, the work of Aurelio De Laurentiis and his managerial staff must be read going back in time. From the reports of Maurizio Micheli’s scouts to the intuitions in the negotiations of sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli: he won the team game, sowing with patience and a good dose of courage. It’s easy to praise today, but just take a step back to understand the difficulties of such an accurate work. The comment by former president Corrado Ferlaino in the days of the purchase of the then unknown Di Lorenzo from Empoli is emblematic: “He cost as much as Maradona, he will be a good player…“. Skepticism was evident (not only from him, actually), but now the Tuscan full-back is a bulwark of Spalletti’s team and it is no coincidence that he is also the protagonist in the role in the national team. If we then think that Kvaratskhelia also cost just 10 million, then the economic comparison with what was spent on the legendary Diego gives an idea of how times have changed.
And this Naples has grown in the last three years with many exemplary stories. Obviously the queen move remains the one that led to investing over 70 million for Osimhen. A decisive step to give the team a point of reference. But it is equally true that the club line has never departed from the virtuous principles of sustainable football. With the risk of being criticized at first sight. Just last summer the sacrifice of Koulibaly, the renunciation of Insigne and the exit of Fabian Ruiz had alarmed the most demanding. It is no coincidence that the landing of the Korean Kim arouses easy hilarity at that juncture, obviously silenced by the performance of the defender that half of Europe envies the Azzurri and snatched from Rennes with around twenty million. Behind the scenes of this beautiful story, however, the small steps of previous years deserve attention. By now few remember that Zielinski arrived from Udinese in his early twenties for an investment of just under 20 million euros. And it certainly didn’t cost less Lobotka, taken from Celta Vigo for 16 million: coincidentally the same amount spent to get Elmas. And the list could be extended, with the common consideration that the expenses made in due course have led to satisfactory results, now visible to all. The value of all these players has grown year after year.
Of course, now some contracts need to be renewed and maybe some of them will leave. This is the case of the Mexican Lozano, long-time record holder for the highest amount spent on the transfer card: 38 million. Similarly, the Azzurri managers in recent months have not hesitated to spend 36 million to secure Giacomo Raspadori, one of the most promising talents in Italian football. Obviously Napoli looks far and pampers the Bolognese striker who opened the doors to the Scudetto with his goal against Juve. In this story full of youth, Alex Meret also deserves a mention. Even the Friulian has arrived in the green age with an investment of around 20 million euros. His Neapolitan journey has not been very simple, so much so that last summer he even risked leaving on loan (to Spezia). By now, however, he has earned his place as a protagonist and in the coming weeks his fate will be decided clearly. He renews or leaves, perhaps abroad. In any case, the question marks between the posts are now just a memory.
And then what about Giovanni Simeone? His signing is absolutely virtuous: a loan from Verona with the right to buy for 12 million euros. A negligible cost for a striker who has shown that he can be important even starting from the bench. Among the happiest intuitions there is certainly the signing of Anguissa, a solid midfielder, taken with an initial loan and who proved to be fundamental with just 20 million in total spending. Just do a little ‘addition to draw significant conclusions. At the time of squealing football, with transfers often accompanied by sensational figures, Neapolitan common sense indicates a path to follow. With significant resources, but equally clear focus on management, it is possible to think big without fainting. A recipe that in Serie A (unfortunately) few know.
May 4, 2023 (change May 5, 2023 | 00:20)
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