President Aurelio De Laurentiis looks back on “a year of great growth and excellent results” ahead of Napoli’s 2012 gift Eduardo Vargas.
This term saw the Partenopei reach the Champions League for the first time, as it was still the European Cup back in Diego Armando Maradona’s day, where they will face Chelsea in the knockouts.
“In 2012 I expect to further perfect the squad with the introduction of talented youngsters like Vargas so the whole side can grow through a spectacular and entertaining style of football,” he told the Corriere dello Sport.
“I also want a team that does not feel psychologically pressured by its opponents, so we can dominate and give ourselves some excellent results.”
Napoli have already secured Vargas from Universidad de Chile, who finished second in the South American Player of the Year Award behind Brazil hero Neymar.
Vargas finished top scorer of the Copa Sudamericana with 11 goals, giving Universidad de Chile their first ever international trophy.
“The signing of Vargas must not be interpreted as a new phase for the club,” insisted De Laurentiis.
“I always wanted to invest in players capable of scoring goals, like Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani, Goran Pandev, Marek Hamsik and now Vargas.
“This has been a year of great growth and excellent results. We finished third in Serie A and qualified for the Champions League, something that hadn’t happened in 21 years. We then experienced the emotion of a very difficult draw and reached the last 16 against Chelsea. It’s not a bad 2011... The most exciting moments were the two goals against Villarreal.”
Napoli almost parted company with Walter Mazzarri over the summer, but their rapport is now stronger than ever.
“He is a fantastic Coach who knows how to get the best out of players. With him, those who aren’t quite there yet can become champions and the already top players shine brighter than they do elsewhere. He is a great motivator and I’m sure he’ll do very well with Vargas.
“Don’t forget Mazzarri managed to double Cavani’s goal tally. We also still have to develop talents like Federico Fernandez, Miguel Angel Britos and Ignacio Fideleff.”
This week President De Laurentiis had said there would be no more additions to the side after Vargas, but could well change his tune.
“I have always said Napoli have a permanently open window on the transfer market and some signings could also be made to use players next season. If there’s a real bargain to be had, it’s by leaving a player where he is for the moment.”