President Aurelio De Laurentiis wants Maurizio Sarri to stay with Napoli for “at least another 10 years”.
The Coach has an €8m release clause in his contract, but the Partenopei owner wants Sarri to stay for the long haul.
“It was me who wanted him, and I was criticised by the fans for it,” De Laurentiis recalled in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I had fallen in love and I’m even more so now. He has a great advantage and a great gift: he’s not a pain, he’s a witty, multifaceted and prepared man, you can talk to him about so many things.
“I hope he’ll stay with us for at least another 10 years. If not we’ll find another Sarri. I’m not worried about the clause, only about my health because I need even more energy to grow Napoli.”
De Laurentiis also discussed the contract situations of Pepe Reina and Faouzi Ghoulam, with both out of contract in June.
“With Reina things got stuck when his agent asked for a three-year contract. For me that couldn’t exist. But there’s always the chance to review things.
“I could have taken Neto and [Wojciech] Szczesny, but neither of them wanted to come and be backup.
“Ghoulam, on the other hand, I would keep for the rest of his life but if he wants a release clause then I decide how much it is.
“If he were to ask for a low figure then it would mean he wants to tease. At that point, thank you and goodbye.”
Napoli have won their first seven games of the season, is there more conviction this term.
“Relatively speaking,” De Laurentiis said.
“A year ago we had to see how we were going to replace [Gonzalo] Higuain. It seemed we’d started well with [Arkadiusz] Milik, but then he got injured.
“We overcame the difficulties when Sarri had the intuition to move Mertens up-front. Meanwhile, however, those dropped points stopped us winning the league.”
And now Milik is injured again…
“Only in January will we understand if [Roberto] Inglese will have to move his arrival in Naples forward to the beginning of the year.
“Scudetto rivals? I like Roma very much. I’ve been surprised by [Eusebio] Di Francesco’s ability to prepare a squad that has lost such important players, [Mohamed] Salah for example.
“He’s enduring the pressure from a rather complicated fanbase.”
De Laurentiis is also on record saying he’d like to reduce Serie A to 16 teams.
“Of course, because the league isn’t real, there’s too much difference between the teams.
“Aside from that, I don’t understand these teams who come up to Serie A just to take advantage of the parachute payments once. There’s no planning.”