Napoli Miss Out on Ounahi, Shortlist Udinese Starlet

Despite pursuing him for a while, Napoli won’t sign Azzedine Ounahi, as the Moroccan midfielder has officially joined Olympique Marseille. The Ligue 1 side turned his attention toward him after Torino bested them for Verona’s starlet Ivan Ilic, L’Arena reports.

According to Rai journalist Ciro Venerato (via Tuttomercatoweb), the Partenopei had halted the negotiation for him in early January. They were tired of the back and forth with the Angers president, who clearly tried to pit teams against each other to drive up his price tag.

In the end, Marseille acquired Ounahi for a low fee, around €10M plus €5M add-ons, which was in the same ballpark as what Napoli had offered. However, the Partenopei wouldn’t have been able to purchase him right away. They have filled their quota of extra-EU additions for the season. They would have left him to the Le Sco on loan.

The Azzurri will now shift their focus to Lamar Samardzic for the future, Corriere dello Sport relays (via Calciomercato). Piotr Zielinski’s contract expires in 2024, and the extension talks haven’t progressed much. However, it’d take a big offer to acquire him from Udinese.

Our Take on Napoli and Ounahi

It’s a missed opportunity because the valuation wasn’t that high. Despite their previous posturing, Angers accepted to cash in on him right away, and the Azzurri lost their advantage. He probably would have replaced Tanguy Ndombélé in their 2023/2024 roster. Samardzic has tantalizing talent, but he needs grooming. They’d be able to wait for him since Elijf Elmas would be top of the queue to eventually replace Zielinski.

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