Tuesday February 6 2018
Napoli could regret rigidity

If Juventus pip Napoli to the title, the finger will be pointed at their inability to bring in much-needed cover during the January window, warns Jack Stevens.

The January transfer window provides a fresh opportunity for squads to improve and solidify their season ambitions. Inter, for example, secured the loan of Lisandro Lopez from Benfica after being desperately in need of defensive cover.

Napoli, despite flying high at the top of the table, are in undisputed need of cover for their forward players. Despite this glaringly obvious omission, they failed to sign a single player, and considering the need for them to maintain their momentum, their incompetence in the market could ultimately see the Scudetto slip from their grasp.

It all began with Simone Verdi, the highly-fancied, multi-faceted winger at Bologna. After the bulk of negotiations sailed by smoothly, Verdi himself turned Napoli down. What on the face of it may seem utterly ludicrous, seeing as Napoli are in pole position to secure a title, he in fact had sound reasoning for shunning Sarri.

The tactician’s uber-rigid starting line-up is one which he will not compromise, no matter how much Aurelio De Laurentiis throws at players like Nikola Maksimovic. The Serbian is a prime example of how, unless your competition picks up an injury, you are discarded.

Did Verdi fear trading the admiration of the Rossoblu faithful and a regular berth at Bologna for a role bench warming in Naples? This would be the logical explanation, and the failure to sign Verdi served as a prelude to what was an impossible window for the Neapolitans.

Amin Younes turned down the chance to join after visiting the stadium due to ‘personal reasons’ and reports persist he is trying to get out of the contract he signed for next season. Whatever these reasons may be, for Napoli, they were no closer to finding the missing piece that could clinch them the Scudetto.

Gerard Deulofeu joined Watford late in the window, and a fateful last gasp bid for Sassuolo’s Matteo Politano smacked of utter desperation. A ludicrously inflated fee upwards of €25 million was reported, as well as a player exchange, which was refused by Sassuolo. While Napoli cited Juventus’ supposed control over the market in Italy as the reasons, they had still made no ground in ensuring their position at the pinnacle was strengthened.

Bizarre factors made their way into the mix, with Everton’s Davy Klaassen failing to join on the last day of the window due to his image rights not being handed over to Napoli.

Such complications and inefficiencies can be argued to be born of the sheer nature of Sarri’s side, his rigidity and unwavering faith in Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon simply translates as untouchable to any potential arrivals.

In this argument, Sarri and Napoli are victims of what makes them so fantastic: their wonderful style and fluidity simply isn’t compatible with rotation.

Napoli’s failure in the market will play a pivotal role in whether they are able to win the Scudetto. Should injury befall one of their golden trifecta, fingers will be pointed at De Laurentiis. However, a wider question should be asked as to whether Sarri’s system is too inherently inflexible, and while a great starting XI wins games, a great squad wins titles.

With the end of season run in coming thick and fast alongside their Europa League tie against RB Leipzig, Napoli are gambling, there is simply no two ways about it. Should Juventus pip them, all roads will lead back to January.

Have your say...
Regardless if Napoli win this years title or not the one major concern every Napoli fan should have is Napoli’s inability to close out deals. ADL’s insistence on keeping players image rights is a major issue as very few half decent players are willing to give up their image rights and i don’t see any long term planning on ADL’s part. This January transfer window seemed like shoot in the dark hope for the best scenario! Napoli identified one major hole and chaotically tried stuffing it with any option that came along. (Even offering a staggering 25mil on a player that may be worth less than 12mil) Whats going to happen when half the team decides to move on? At best Napoli will win the title and have another 30 years to reminisce the glorious Hamsik days or at worse they finish second and keep reminiscing the good old Maradona days!
on the 7th February, 2018 at 8:46pm
The facts, and nothing bat the facts, SHOW THE TRUTH:
(Last 10 seasons

787 [80,2] Juventus (710)
712 [72,5] Roma (716)
679 [69,2] Internazionale (721)
665 [67,7] Milan (677)
654 [66,6] Napoli (587)
593 [60,4] Fiorentina (614)
570 [58,1] Lazio (575)
519 [52,9] Udinese (525)
476 [48,5] Genoa (447)
438 Sampdoria (442)
on the 7th February, 2018 at 6:54pm
I think Napoli, Sarri en de Laurentius are working wonders for years now!! I hope they will get what they deserve and that is the scudetto!! It would be like David defeating Goliath because Napoli has a 200Mil club and Juve 400 million.......Thats says everything!! I hope in the end justice will prevail it is also very nice to see that now with VAR Rubentus cannot get like 6-10 points that they get every year because of referee....
on the 7th February, 2018 at 6:27pm
@ Maradonamac

Like Napoli doesn't get enough praise as it is.

The whole Italian media and also this site has been nothing but a circle jerk about how beautiful Napoli plays.

God forbid someone criticizes something about the gorgeous Napoli.
But sure, here's another pat on the back.
on the 7th February, 2018 at 2:28pm
@ Anonymous

Ah, so you're just a little troll.

Good to know.
on the 7th February, 2018 at 2:19pm
Conte's failings are his own. What's that about weak opposition when all the teams are basically the same? Pep's City aren't suddenly bossing it thanks to a new transfer, and everyone placed below don't matter as long as they finish 4th. Greatest league in the world has too many inconsistent "top" teams, always been the case for too long that relegation fodder won it 2 years ago.
on the 7th February, 2018 at 2:12pm
@ Ali, Anon, Ravanelli - It is just so easy to get Rubentus fans worked up. He He. Conte won a weakened league last year with Mourinho's men. The league is stronger now with strengthened Manchester sides and typical of a Rube guy when they meet proper English opposition - they run away crying.
on the 7th February, 2018 at 8:17am
@ PrimoCalcio Exactly. Put Sarri in charge of any of the big 6 Italian sides (Juve, Inter, Milan, Roma, Lazio or Napoli) and they'd be challenging for a Scudetto. Had Milan appointed Sarri instead of Mihajlović we'd probably be challenging for the Scudetto now even with the same team. The manager is often the single biggest difference between success and failure.
on the 7th February, 2018 at 1:35am
why change it? I'd love to see the transfer market severely restricted with a limited number of transfers in summer and winter and a cap on transfer fees and wages. We're supposed to be watching a sport not a glorified game of Monopoly.
on the 7th February, 2018 at 1:32am
@ Maradonamac Precisely. The only people who benefit from the farcical transfer market are the media, agents and players' bank accounts. Football fans and football generally gains nothing from the bi-annual cattle market. We're supposed to be watching highly tuned athletes and instead we may as well be watching casual workers shift from one holiday job to another. Every transfer effects other players in the squad. Every transfer effects a team's system. If the players and the system are working
on the 7th February, 2018 at 1:30am
I just think it's weird to blame Sarri's system as the reason they won't the Scudetto when Sarri's system is the only reason they're challenging in the first place.
Sarri is certainly open to critique, but never could we claim he's the reason Napoli can't win.
on the 7th February, 2018 at 12:04am
An article like this just makes me smile. Instead of praising an owner, coach and team for their current status, football being played and refusal to throw money away in Jan, they get absolutely slaughtered.
Guess what people; Napoli sit top of the league on doing what they do. Finding holes in what might happen is pointless.
They have a decent sized squad, with plenty of quality and Milik to be back soon.
Why so negative? One game at a time.
on the 6th February, 2018 at 9:50pm
Teams that win their respective leagues do so because they were better than all other teams during that year. If Napoli wins this year it's because they've been better than all other Serie A teams this season, the same goes for Man C in EPL and Barca in La Liga, as well as Juve for the last 6 years in Serie A. I know it burns, but just face up to it.
on the 6th February, 2018 at 7:39pm
@Anonymous. I thought of bashing you for your stupid comment about Conte and not being able to by referees any more in EPL, but saw that others had beaten me to it. Well, you can never tell off idiots too many times. Idiot, Conte has already won the EPL in his first year. We get that you're insinuating that Conte had help from the referees whilst in Italy, but how about Allegri? What about VAR? What about not being an idiot and just admitting to some straightforward facts.
on the 6th February, 2018 at 7:36pm
what??? Not even inglese. Wow, Napoli surely gonna suffer. For january transfer, what they did is forgeting the target at your grab that is inglese and hitting for the appealing one that is verdi, only to get embarrased by him then younes. Their mercato was tottal embarrasment really!!. Actually they needed to be so wise and planning given their so speedy this term if not strong which surely is juventas. Well, goodluck napoli!, Now its up to sarri not the players to make the difference as these bunch of players will give their all to bring the scudetti to home at naples..
on the 6th February, 2018 at 4:54pm
Well said @ FERBAN.

Though I won't say that the EL is within their grasp. Not least because they're focusing much more on the Scudetto.

@ Anonymous

Conte won the EPL already, you idiot.

Man... some people..
on the 6th February, 2018 at 4:35pm
@anonymous sooo what did he do with his first year at chelsea. He paid for the referees in england for 1 year then ran out of money the next? Shut up pls you idiots are starting to bore me, i am contemplating not reading these posts anymore as they are filled with childish misinformed morons. Jealousy will kill you.
on the 6th February, 2018 at 4:31pm
I don't buy it is anything to do with Sarri management style just look how ADL has conducted himself in the last couple of weeks. the crumb of consolation being that none of the other top 6 serie a team par inter made significant moves in the transfer market. ADL seems like a man without a plan i can't believe how salty people are over verdi showing loyalty to bologna. It could get to the point where free agents like nasri song kirchhoff paletta evra could be necessary transfers.
on the 6th February, 2018 at 2:32pm
Continued: I don't know how or why the real reasons Napoli won't able to close any deals(I have my suspicions about what the media reported), but Sarri needs to show a bit more faith in the likes of Zielinski, Diawara and hopefully Milik & Goulam come back fresh & motivated.ALL non-Juve fans want Napoli to win the Scudetto, BUT, the ONLY way it is going to happen is if Juve put their eggs in the CL basket(and try to end 22 years of FAILURE),and reach the CL semis, AND Napoli play at 100%!
on the 6th February, 2018 at 12:31pm
Napoli NEEDED to add to their squad in January and it will hurt them in the end! Their first team is brilliant, but once they have even just 2 top players injured/lose form badly, their replacements are not at an elite enough level. A huge factor is Europe, NO WAY any other club would basically throw away a CL run the way Napoli did this year, and it was a REAL SHAME for Serie A that they did, because anyone of Milan,Inter,Atalanta etc...could have done better!They will also write off the EL.
on the 6th February, 2018 at 12:25pm
Chelsea want Sarri to replace Conte. Conte has found out that he does not have referees on his side in England.
on the 6th February, 2018 at 10:40am
It was a shocking transfer window from Napoli, and if they lose the title now,then they'll only have themselves to blame (but like all in Italy, they'll blame Juventus, the referees, and black cats crossing roads).

Inglese and the extra winger never arrived. Milik is a good player but has hardly walked in 18 months.

It'd be good to see Napoli win the league for the league's sake, but January was a bust. Interesting to see how long they last in the EL, another trophy within their grasp.
on the 6th February, 2018 at 9:28am

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