Napoli nearly found a way to complete a deal in January to bring Sassuolo winger Matteo Politano aboard for the Scudetto chase, but were beaten by the buzzer as the move did not materialize in time before the window closed.
The Italian was the Partenopei’s secondary target after Simone Verdi decided to stay put in Bologna for the remainder of the 2017-18 season, yet re-emerged in the closing stages of the Serie A campaign as a possible upgrade over Jose Callejon. Since then, Verdi’s change of heart gave President Aurelio De Laurentiis and Carlo Ancelotti the go-ahead to secure the former Milan youth for €25m, likely ruling Napoli out for Politano.
What is the market for the 24-year-old and where would he fit best?
Based off the assumption the recent Azzurri debutant is ready and willing to leave the Mapei Stadium, and Sassuolo are fielding offers, his intentions are likely to remain in Italy – for obvious reasons. But, if the Neroverdi were only willing to part with the ex-Roma attacker for nearly €30m six months ago, before he caught fire in the second half of the year, only a select few can financially offer him the opportunity he desires.
Juventus are stacked to the brim with attacking talent, Roma are expanding outside Italy to bolster their roster and Napoli are no longer a fit. This leaves two clubs with a need for a winger who could afford to acquire his signature: the football tips for Politano point to Milan and Inter.
The Rossoneri’s market is currently stalled for sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli as they await UEFA’s ruling this month, and are looking for minority investors to assist with their financial status. In spite of all this, Milan still expect to be active, and Politano may be an ideal option.
As for the Nerazzurri, Coach Luciano Spalletti surely could benefit from Politano’s offensive production out wide to improve upon what Antonio Candreva managed last season – while also supporting captain Mauro Icardi, who bagged the bulk of the goals.
Inter have Champions League football on the agenda for 2018-19, and have already proven active on the transfer front, sealing deals for free transfers Stefan de Vrij and Kwadwo Asamoah, also buying the highly-sought after Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez.
With talks on-going to bring Radja Nainggolan to the fashion capital of the world, you can expect Suning to continue exploring ways to round out the squad and set Spalletti up for a successful European return.
It is also not beyond the realm of possibility to see Politano venture out of Italy and survey his options, especially Spain, where former Sassuolo players Simone Zaza and Nicola Sansone currently reside.
Perhaps the Roman envisions a return home to the Capitale with Lazio if Felipe Anderson’s West Ham United switch comes to fruition and Claudio Lotito actually decides to open up his wallet to reinvest.
Then there is the possibility of Politano staying put for the first half of the upcoming season, with Sassuolo revisiting a big sale in the January window when desperation settles in for clubs in need of an attacking spark.
Either way you slice it, Politano is ready for a bigger stage, but it remains to be seen whether summer 2018 is when he will take it.