Rafa Benitez has confirmed Napoli’s intention to sign in January, downplayed Marek Hamsik’s injury and up-played the team’s next run of matches.
The Vesuviani have been linked with a number of moves this midseason and today’s reports have it that Luca Antonelli from Genoa for €8m is a done deal.
Whilst refusing to comment on particular moves, Benitez has today admitted that he expects some activity come the turn of the year.
“For January I hope for something but not all of these names that have appeared in the papers,” the Spaniard told reporters at a Press conference today.
“We have been working for many months in this sense, I am meeting with [sporting director Riccardo] Bigon continuously.
“I will not say, however, what we need. We have been paired with more than 50 players combined for the January market. I will have to ask the League to increase the squad size.
“Someone will arrive, but not 50…”
Napoli this weekend look to bounce back from Week 12’s defeat to Juventus by hosting Parma before a midweek Champions League encounter with Borussia Dortmund.
It is a run of fixtures Benitez is all too aware of and is prioritising for the season.
“Between one break and another we have eight games. The ones that lie ahead will be very important.
“The same applies for the final 10 games of the season in the fight for the Scudetto. I want to see my Napoli fight and win.
“I analysed the video of the match with Juventus with a player and suddenly realized that within the first two minutes we had already been left at a disadvantage.
“We are working to do better, but we had the wrong approach in Turin.
“The team is strong if they know they can adapt and react in different ways, but we are only at the beginning.
“I spoke to an English friend of mine recently about the difference in patience between England and Italy with Coaches.
“If we had the chance, we would train everyone and have more time to prepare, but the only time we have had was during the preseason retreat.
“I believe the players are happy with the work that we carry out. This is demonstrated by the fact that we are playing well. The match against Dortmund will be very important, but probably the one with Arsenal even more so. It will be very difficult and we have to be focused 100 per cent.”
The former Liverpool and Chelsea boss was asked of the impact the international break may have had on player availability. Marek Hamsik is seen as a doubt for the weekend after picking up an injury yesterday.
“They are returning and several will arrive today. I’ll have to talk to the doctors to see if all are doing well.
“For example, we have to evaluate the condition of Hamsik, who yesterday had a small problem with his foot. But I am not worried.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.