Since the last ball of the season was kicked by Napoli, the Italian club have very busy in the transfer market. Here we review the teams options and changes going into the new season.
Napoli brought in Belgium international Kaminski towards the end of the season, with the Manager believing he has the potential to become number one with a slight rating tweak, given he is very much in and around the Belgium squad. Rajkovic is the clubs current number 1 and has been subject of a lot of interest from a number of clubs. Last season he managed 14 clean sheets and 8 Man of the matches to be the clubs most consistent performer. IRL Lille the French Champions have made a move to make him their number 1 keeper, however these is a bit messy, due to an illegal approach. This is expected to rumble on until the window close, however if a move does go through then Rajkovic is likely to be getting a rating incease. It is believed Napoli are still open to a sale, but this has been further complicated after they let young Cerofolini leave yesterday as part of the deal which brought promising defensive midfielder Pantaleao. Napoli will be on the look out for another keeper, before they consider letting Rajkovic go.
Napoli’s defence was what their season was built on last season. Despite finishing 12th in the league, the club had the fourth best defensive record in division 3 conceding just 38 Goals. What was more incredible is the defence was marshalled by O’Connell 87, Williams, 85, Tymchyk 83 and Moreno 86. Since the end of the season, Phillips and Tymchyk have move on, however the club as brought in Gajic 85, Nastasic 87 and have also agreed to loan Foyth from Bayern, which on paper improves the defensive rating on last season. Napoli have a number of young players who play central defence who they are hopeful can continue to improve to force their way into the team, this includes the likes of Andersen who had a decent Euro’s for Denmark.
Last season the team rotated between Milner 90, Linnety 88, Herrera 89 and Santamaria in the centre of the park. Bar Linnetty the other three have left the club over the last 24 hours in a surprising move. The Manager went on record that he was looking for one CM this close season, but through trading this number increased to three. In as replacements come Vidal 91 and Moutinho 91, Mooy 87 and Pantaleao. On paper this looks very shrewd business with the midfield collective rating increasing to give the midfield a very strong look for Division 3.
Scoring goals has been the clubs biggest issue since Mullan took the reigns 3 seasons ago. Last season’s top scorer was Herrera from Midfield with just 8 goals, so this is an area that needed to be addressed. The club have sold star player Bamford 89 to Partizan, he moved across as part of the deal which saw Moutinho join the club. However also joining in that deal is Vinicius who has an excellent scoring record in Portugal and although struggled for regular at Spurs whilst on loan last season is still at a decent age and with a rating of 87, He already has a better rating than the other strikers that were already at Napoli prior to the transfer merry go around. Napoli have agreed to let talented star youngster Brereton Diaz 82 leave, despite him due a rise and big clubs circling to take him from Blackburn in real life. He along with talented young defender Erlinc have joined Dnipro who have made the play-off final, in a deal which will see Chris Wood 88 join Napoli. This deal was the catalyst to letting Bamford go, as Mullan wanted a minimum 88 striker to lead his attack next season. Napoli have also brought in Douglas Costa 89, rated, hoping his creativity can lead to more goals. It was the original intention that Costa and Willan 89 would provide the ammunition for the forwards this season. However Willian was then sold on Sunday, heading to Wolfsburg in a deal which sees Stindl 90 come in the opposite direction. Stindl has come at quite a price with Milner and talented young brazilian Helinho also being part of that deal. However on the back of Bamfords 89 departure, Napoli now see themselves with a higher rated striker and a very able back up in Wood, and also Inui 87 who joined towards the end of last season.
Other key transfers.
Napoli have also added exciting youngsters Joseph, Babi, Khadra, Olaru, Roberts and Garcia. Going into the new season despite signing quite a few veterans, Napoli only have 15 players over the age of 25, and statistically the squads rating has increased through the transfer activity carried out so far.
I’m thrilled with the business we’ve done. Three seasons ago we could not trade with Managed clubs, as quite frankly we had nothing to trade with. Its been a slow painful rebuild with a high turnover of players to try and get our squad rating and value up, so we can actually compete. The squad when I came would of struggled in Division 5 and had been broken up to the extent, that it was going to take a long time before it was realistically going to be able to compete again. I think last season, we over achieved in fact many were tipping is for a third successive relegation. However we stuck at it and have traded ourselves into a decent position going into next season. Some excellent sides of come up from division 4, whilst some top squads have been relegated from Division 2. We are under no illusions that next season will be one of trying to survive again. However last season we finished just 6 points outside the play off zone, and beat the sides who got promoted. That tells me we are on a bit of a journey but we are beginning to benefit from the work being put in. From a personal point of view I want to push for a top 10 finish next season, and if we can be in and around things towards the last few weeks of the season, then I do not see any reason why we can’t surprise one or two, and make a push for the play offs. I think there is goals in this team, and there is certainly a lot of experienced heads. I’d like another centre midfielder and 87 plus CB, however at this stage it’s unlikely we will be able to add those players, as we’ve run out of tradeable options/assets for now.”