Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis expects a 2-0 victory at Udinese today and must “think about” Maxime Gonalons, but Marek Hamsik is not for sale.
The patron spoke to Radio Kiss Kiss this morning ahead of the Serie A game at the Stadio Friuli, which kicks off at 14.00 UK time (13.00 GMT). Click here for a match preview.
“Udinese have always been surprise packages in the second half of the season. They churn out new players who are put on the market and continue to raise fresh funds,” said De Laurentiis.
“Giampiero Pozzo also has clubs in Spain and England. Francesco Guidolin is a very capable Coach who doesn’t know how to give up when under pressure. It’s a complicated team to face.
“We are without Gonzalo Higuain, but we have faith. Duvan Zapata is a great example for young players and it’s only right that he starts. Napoli will win 2-0 in Udine.”
The Napoli President was also asked about Gonalons after Lyon patron Jean-Michel Aulas confirmed he’d release the midfielder if they renewed the offer that was rejected in January.
“We will have time to think about it. I found an immediate agreement with Gonalons, but it was Aulas to dug his heels in and pushed things beyond every level.
“Now I don’t want to take revenge on Lyon, as that is not part of my nature. Everyone thinks they have gems and ask for outlandish prices.
“With Rafa Benitez and Riccardo Bigon we are considering the situation. The problem is that I prefer focusing on youngsters, as more experienced players can also be a little spoilt. They can do well the first year, but nothing says they’ll keep that up in the second or third.
“I prefer to seek 20-year-old talents and Benitez is getting used to this approach, because I am not asking him for everything straight away. I want a team that becomes strong over time.”
De Laurentiis also denied reports Marek Hamsik could be put on the market after a dismal campaign.
“Why should he be? It’s only journalists who put him on the market. Marek has to come and tell me if he wants to go, but there is no more Neapolitan player than him. He has become Neapolitan and for me he is absolutely not for sale.
“Of course if he came to me and asked to leave, then we’d have to discuss it.”
De Laurentiis replied to Juventus director Beppe Marotta, who said Napoli’s celebrations after beating the Bianconeri made them look “like a provincial side.”
“It was an ugly comment and those who fear being provincial accuse others of being so. I admire Marotta, but I don’t want to reply in an impolite manner.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!