Wednesday July 25 2018
De Laurentiis' self-sabotage

The Napoli president is no stranger to controversy and is harming his club in the build up to the new season, writes Nick Valerio.

As Maurizio Sarri finally settles in to life as Chelsea boss, Aurelio De Laurentiis has continued his very public war of words on his former Coach. Sarri, of course, made no secret of his desire to move to the 2016-17 Premier League winners and it took the best part of two months for the Azzurri patron to release the Neapolitan from his contract.

This was despite already having Carlo Ancelotti at the helm and in a campaign of small margins, the close season fallout could have disastrous consequences for a Napoli side who came agonisingly close to achieving the Scudetto in May.

Ancelotti, aside from Cristiano Ronaldo, is probably the most prodigious name to arrive in Italian football this summer and it wasn’t easy for the serial winning tactician to not only end his sabbatical, but to move to a side not guaranteed to win trophies.

With respect to Napoli, they are not a Real Madrid or Bayern Munich and it has so far been a frustrating summer for the ex-Milan tactician. Ancelotti is still waiting for a stellar name to arrive at the San Paolo and it's unlikely he would have agreed to the job without assurances of a sizeable transfer kitty to compete with the Bianconeri.

Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria and Arturo Vidal are just three names linked to a transfer to Napoli but patron De Laurentiis has rubbished the possibility of each respective rumour.

Former crowd favourite Cavani has a reported €55m price tag over his head, a sum deemed too expensive for the Napoli owner despite the goals the Uruguayan would guarantee. Cavani has plundered over 100 goals in the last three seasons with Paris Saint-Germain and if he did become available, the Italian club should do all they can to bring the player back to Campania.

While Dries Mertens performed to a fine level as a false 9 in the 2016-17 term, the Belgian’s numbers did not match the same heights in the following campaign. For a club harbouring ambitions on both the domestic and European stage, Napoli need a top class striker, but De Laurentiis is more interested in fuelling a grudge against Sarri.

Sarri, a confrontational figure himself, certainly wasn’t shy in saying how he felt, but spent almost the entirety of his spell at Napoli under pressure from his President. De Laurentiis openly blamed the 59-year-old for the Southerners' failure in last term’s title race, despite the fact his side amassed 91 points.

The film producer also has a penchant for criticising his players and the 3-1 defeat against Los Blancos in the 2016-17 Champions League was particularly striking. Bar hometown hero Lorenzo Insigne, each starter endured a public dressing down and De Laurentiis continues to lack awareness for the efforts of his squad.

While De Laurentiis’ fiery style can be beneficial for the Partenopei - see his refusal to release Sarri until being granted assurances half the squad wouldn’t be heading to Stamford Bridge with him - many of his public pronouncements draw eye rolls, such as telling a Napoli fan to “support Juventus” if he wanted guaranteed success.

The President rightly is fond of reminding Neapolitans that he came from working with Angelina Jolie to save the club from financial ruin, and the transformation under his tenure has been remarkable. The Vesuviani have gone from armageddon to Scudetto challengers, and the owner deserves immense credit, but there's no use in making a statement of intent by getting Ancelotti, only to undermine the club in the transfer market.

As it stands, time is running out for Napoli with just under four weeks until domestic action restarts. With much to do in the market, the Azzurri currently find themselves adrift of not only Juventus, but Inter and Roma. The aforementioned clubs are better equipped and have invested wisely this summer, while Napoli struggle to get new faces through the door. Ancelotti is likely to want at least three or four new additions, and it is the Coach and his players who will suffer without reinforcements.

Player additions aside, De Laurentiis must also be careful of his treatment of Ancelotti. The three-time Champions League winner has felt immense pressure from the boards of Real Madrid, and to a lesser extent Bayern Munich, and won’t tolerate a repeat of the conditions he was under at these super clubs. Ancelotti demands - and deserves - respect, and unlike Maurizio Sarri isn't coming from a background of Serie C struggle.

If De Laurentiis doesn’t curb his ways, he could be looking for a new Coach long before the signed three-year contract ends.

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Have your say...
Judging by Napoli 0:5 defeat to Liverpool, this season may be even worse...
on the 4th August, 2018 at 7:55pm
Wow, I suppose this year will be walk in the park for Juve then. Napoli may even be surpassed by Roma and/or Inter, judging from how the transfer market going.
on the 31st July, 2018 at 3:21am
ADL has done a great job bringing Napoli back from the dead! He has made shrewd investments and kept Napoli competitive and consistent over the years... His behavior is idiotic and he has always somehow managed to sabotage his team with it. But for better or worse he is the best Napoli can hope for and with a few additions I'm sure they will have another competitive season. Only problem is AC going to keep Milik healthy enough to make any difference otherwise Napoli need another CF & another CB
on the 31st July, 2018 at 3:20am
Can anyone remind me When Napoli spent 90m € on 3 players before 1 firat, and we are not Done yey
on the 29th July, 2018 at 10:04am
Adl is embarrassing his club he is making the summer transfer window into the Adl show. He is either deflecting from a poor transfer window, or his ego really is gianormous
on the 28th July, 2018 at 11:59pm
Why not to make an offer for K. Glik (AS Monaco, Torino FC), who was willing to play back in Italy?
on the 28th July, 2018 at 2:42pm
Doddy Juve LOL Napoli are obsessed with Juve? LOL, aren't you vile pigs the one's who chant disgusting crap about wanting Vesuvius to murder Neapolitans and destroy Naples even when you sign arguably the best player in the world? So when you should be celebrating and over the moon signing Cristiano Ronaldo you spend it chanting about Napoli and we're the one's obsessed with you. Yeah ok then
on the 28th July, 2018 at 8:57am
Still too many holes in the team. They're looking for a striker because they have no faith in Milik. Rog will stay on the bench, as will Diawara (both very good players), so that they keep on with Hamsik, Allen and Zielinski. The Koulibaly can't play defence alone, he needs a better partner (which will be $$$), Ghoulam is out and Hysej is good. Still too many holes.
on the 27th July, 2018 at 8:38pm
One of the tasks should be turning Zielinski (24) from boy to man. Watching (as FC Bayern fan) story of R. Sanchez under CA I have a lot of doubts.
on the 27th July, 2018 at 5:08pm
Yeah CA will do well, you'll fight for 4th and might even clench it before the last round because i don't see you going far in CL. This year VAR won't be able to help you as much either, all those offside goals you scored, all those handballs in your PA uncalled, penalty calls never going agaisnt you,... Let us not forget Napoli was the team that most profited by ref mistakes last season, the scudetto would be over by early April if the refs weren't pushing you. Koulibaly is leaving next summer.
on the 27th July, 2018 at 3:28pm
a Varsavia - I see your point but.....those players you have listed would be simply be nontransferable for their current clubs and even if they were you think they would come to Napoli??

Cavani has a past with them and Vidal is only 31 so more realistic targets.

you may as well say Napoli should sign Messi lol not happening.
on the 27th July, 2018 at 1:31pm
Always the same every start of the season...Inter spend, Milan spend, Roma spend etc Napoli will do bad!what rubbish. Napoli have a great core of players who know how to play together. A team is better than an individual unless you are called Maradona and Ronaldo aint him! Napoli will score goals from everyone not just one player (Icardi). We have a better bench this year. Juve have Ronaldo but a defence that is about 300 yrs old! Some refs have also retired! No Buffon either! CA will do well!
on the 27th July, 2018 at 10:00am
Why to buy old people like Cavani or Vidal? Go for youngsters like K. Coman, O. Dembele, K. Mbappe or T. Werner - I mean before they are worth 100s of $$$.
on the 27th July, 2018 at 9:34am
Words of truth and wisdom!
For a moment, I truly believed that Napoli will bring one big striker, and a powerful defender, if they don't wanna slip this year. But the way things are, nothing will happen! And who'd be better for them, than El Matador!? Maybe his countryman, L. Suarez, but something like that's totally unlikely to happen! And is R Albiol continue to be the only (real) partner in the defense for the great Koulibaly, to whom, if ADL don't give a new, better contract - he's gone too
on the 27th July, 2018 at 12:12am
let's bet: how long CA will resign or get fired?
on the 26th July, 2018 at 11:38pm
Beppe Rossi
Yes, Verdi is a big improvement compared to Callejon, I love José but he just run he can’t do anything by himself, Verdi can do that. Meret is back in september
After 2 rounds.
Don’t forget Insigne, Diawara, Zielinski , Milik, Koulibaly, Hysaj are really good players.
You will see.m
on the 26th July, 2018 at 8:53pm
A little bit worried for Napoli b/c they haven't strengthened in any position. Verdi is not starting XI, Meret is not better than Reina, and Fabian not better than Jorginho. They might find Serie A more challenging this season. Maybe Carlo will inspire them to make a push in the CL.
on the 26th July, 2018 at 8:32pm
Forcella: Verdi? come on. Meret is injured, and maybe Fabian will be good. Other then that. Be hopeful for a 3rd or 4th, because if Napoli miss out on CL for 2019/2020, they'll struggle financially to attract anyone, and they'll drift from there, because players like Mertens, and Callejon will be 32 and need to be replaced, but you won't have the money to buy anyone of real quality.
on the 26th July, 2018 at 5:45pm
You are all out riding a bicycle...

Napoli will suprise all of you, Napoli already spent around 80m €
In Verdi , Meret and Fabian. When did Napoli spend so much money on 3 single players before?
Fabian could be the suprise of the whole year. Miliks potential is suddenly forgotten?
Hamsik sucked last season, Ancelotti will create a regista out of him.
Dont forgett Ancelotti moved Pirlo down to a regista 2009.
And the core of the squad is still there.

Just saying...
on the 26th July, 2018 at 4:04pm
They will finish 3rd or 4th no better, they need a game changer or two! Cavani and Vidal would be those guys, losing Jorginho was a blow but lets be honest ADL is an old style president that wont spend any cash to keep up with the other top sides! I can't see them getting as close as last year unless they spend some! Juve with Ronaldo are miles ahead not to mention Bonucci and possibly Pogba coming back.
on the 26th July, 2018 at 2:29pm
Napoli have reached their upmost potential with ADL. If they truly want to become a big club they need owners who would invest, ADL isn't one. He had done a tremendous job bringing Napoli to where they are now but this is where it stops. Napoli would still be a formidable team for a foreseeable future but they won't win anything as long as ADL is still there.
on the 26th July, 2018 at 1:00pm
This clown is way too obsessed with Juventus and always blames his team failure on someone else. With a president like him, Napoli will never win prestigious trophies. Period.
Ancelotti won't last a season for sure. Like you said, Napoli is not on the same level as Bayern & Madrid. Hell, they're not even on the same level as Chelsea either.

PS: ADL shoulda bought Palermo & become joint-president with Zamparini. Now that'll be headlines everywhere.
on the 26th July, 2018 at 12:52pm
You say Nick exactly what I think. BTW Heycknes coming for Ancelotti in Bayern did not achieve anything more than Carlo, due to Hoennes & Ruemennige twins being so stubborn on transfer market. It looks CA is to be unlucky second time in a row, while there is no doubt Bayern has much much bigger squad than Naples.
on the 26th July, 2018 at 11:54am
I read these opinions every year, like ADL is worst owner in the world, we had bad mercato, others had great mercato, we won't even qualify for CL, our players are poor and similar things. At the end we have great president, great players, great mercaro and this will happen again.
on the 26th July, 2018 at 11:52am
There is no way that Ancelotti would sign for Napoli thinking that they were going to buy Benzema, Cavani or Di Maria; hopeful, maybe. Napoli has never been about dramatic signings, but rather playing moneyball. That has been Bigons and Giuntolis entire tenure. I´m honestly wondering where Valerio´s evidence about Ancelotti´s frustration is when he hasn´t spoken much about the transfer market.
on the 26th July, 2018 at 9:56am
There is no way that Ancelotti would sign for Napoli thinking that they were going to buy Benzema, Cavani or Di Maria; hopeful, maybe. Napoli has never been about dramatic signings, but rather playing moneyball. That has been Bigons and Giuntolis entire tenure. I´m honestly wondering where Valerio´s evidence about Ancelotti´s frustration is when he hasn´t spoken much about the transfer market.
on the 26th July, 2018 at 9:56am
The dude who thinks he is king Lannister.
on the 26th July, 2018 at 9:51am
Cavani should guarantee goals, but paying huge money for a 31yo is unlikely for Napoli. But he'd be a better signing than Benzema, whose goals have dried up in recent years.

They also need a top CB to partner Koulibay, as Albiol was never truly up to it against the best opposition. With Juve seemingly up for selling Rugani, they could do worse than him.

Hysaj - ? - Koulibaly - Ghoulam
Allan - Hamsik - Zielinski
Mertens - ? - Insigne
on the 26th July, 2018 at 9:47am
What a stupid article.
I understand De Laurentiis is hysterical but is it something new that's surprising anyone? Maybe the author looking at him for the first time.
This Napoli squad is great & pushed Juve to the limits. There's not a lot to be done on the transfer market
Also don't ignore the purchases of Simone Verdi, Fabian Ruiz, Alex Meret, Karnezis, a fully fit Arkadiusz Milik, returning Roberto Inglese & Hamsik's transition as a deep lying Midfielder?
on the 26th July, 2018 at 8:48am
We had already top team last season and only which we were missing was quality bench alternative on RB and RW. Now we fixed it with Verdi and quality RB will come too. We also bought great talents like Meret and Ruiz and it is a only way how to grow. Right now Napoli can't afford players like Ronaldo or Cavani, who can't accept it should change team. We don't have to look on others mercato, Napoli have good enough team to compete for highest places.
on the 26th July, 2018 at 7:20am

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