Aurelio De Laurentiis gave the background to Napoli’s failed bids for Matteo Politano, Simone Verdi and Gerard Deulofeu, plus Amin Younes guarantees.
The Partenopei did not bring in any reinforcements during the January transfer window, but the President insists their strategy receive “10 out of 10.”
They seemingly agreed terms with Sassuolo for Politano just hours before the deadline, but didn’t complete the contracts in time.
“I told (Sampdoria President Massimo) Ferrero to sell Gianluca Caprari to Sassuolo for €10m, that way we could get Politano. He called me after a bit and said: ‘I want €18m.’ I suggested €16m, even if in reality he should’ve been negotiating with (Sassuolo director Giovanni) Carnevali and not with me,” De Laurentiis told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“So Ferrero writes me a text that says: ‘Negotiation concluded.’ At that point, I had already cancelled Politano from my plans. Just two hours before the final transfer deadline, Carnevali calls me to say that Politano can be done, because they are closing a deal with Cagliari for Diego Farias. In addition, they want Adam Ounas on loan and €15m plus what Sassuolo paid for Farias.
“They told me it was €10m plus €3m in bonuses, even if (Cagliari President Tommaso) Giulini revealed to my director of sport (Cristiano) Giuntoli that the real figure was €8m plus €2m…
“I was not convinced, but thought I’d deal with the situation anyway and throw this money out the window: I agreed to pay €28m plus €1m in bonuses. We agree on every detail: a two-year loan at €8m plus obligation to buy for €20m active from the first point Napoli pick up in January 2019. And an extra €1m bonus in case of Scudetto.
“We prepare all the paperwork and the contracts and send them to Sassuolo in good time, everything signed. It was 22.47 and the transfer deadline was 23.00.
“Sassuolo reply at 22.55 with two pieces of paper on Ounas, without a stamp or signature. I call Carnevali and ask: ‘What are you doing?’ He replies they had problems with the fax… in the era of Pec… come on now.”
There are rumours Juventus director Beppe Marotta helped put a spanner in the works thanks to his rapport with Sassuolo.
“I heard that around, but I am not the one saying it. I am fatalistic and feel it is better like this. I admire Politano, who was enthusiastic about coming to Napoli, but he’s not worth all that money. If someone saved me €29m, he did me a favour, not an injury.”
Napoli had agreed terms with Bologna several weeks ago, only for Verdi to reject the mid-season move.
“It was a buy for the future more than the present. Unlike Politano, Verdi could play in all three attacking roles. It was all done with Bologna and agent Branchini at a cost of €25m. We were basically waiting for him at the training ground when a call arrived: ‘He doesn’t feel ready.’
“Was Inter behind it? I don’t know and I don’t care. You have to be happy to come to Napoli, otherwise…
“Deulofeu went to Watford on loan, but tell me this: when would Maurizio Sarri have ever played him? I had a transfer strategy summit with Maurizio and he told me Deulofeu didn’t have the right characteristics to be useful for this team. End of story.”
The situation with Ajax winger Younes is more complex, as he signed a contract for June 2018 – when he’ll be a free agent – but then returned to Amsterdam for the next six months.
“Due to very serious family issues, he chose to postpone his arrival at Napoli. We await him, he’ll be one of ours from July, as the contract has already been deposited with the Lega Serie A. The same goes for (Amato) Ciciretti.
“That is all done, even if there was an issue in Germany with friends of friends…”
It was rumoured that Bayern Munich had tried to interrupt Napoli’s deal with Younes by offering more money.
“I’m not saying it, but think carefully: Juve, Bayern, the European Club Association, UEFA. Have you understood this film?”
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