Napoli on the Hunt for Defensive Reinforcements

With the departure of Kostas Manolas back to Greece with Olympiakos, Napoli are left deprived of reinforcements at the back. Kalidou Koulibaly with leave to play at AFCON, as he is expected to make a return from his lengthy thigh injury in January.

At the moment, Juan Jesus and Amir Rrehmani remain the only two traditional center-backs in the club’s ranks. The Partenopei are now on the hunt for a stopper and several names have emerged as potential targets.

According to reports from SportItalia and La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Alfredo Pedulia, Roma defender Federico Fazio, whose contract expires in June 2022, is being target by Naples on a free transfer.

In an operation similar to the one that lured Juan Jesus from the capital club, Napoli will try to get the Argentine outcast who has not appeared even once this season under Jose Mourinho. The 34-year-old already played under Luciano Spalletti at Roma in 2016/17.

Another name that has surfaced is Manchester United’s Axel Tuanzebe, who is currently on loan at Aston Villa, where he has struggled for minutes. Napoli have made initial contact to discuss the potential loan fee and buy option.

The Partenopei are not willing to shed huge sums of transfer fees, considering their current financial position. This has prompted the club to diverge paths from possible deals for Roma center-back Marash Kumbulla, Lille stopper Sven Botman and Fenerbahce’s Attila Szalai.

Sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli is however said to be a fan of Szalai’s teammate – South Korean defender Min-jae-Kim (via Sky Sport Italia), who only recently arrived in Turkey last summer.

According to reports from French football outlet FootMercato, Napoli are also interested in Ligue 1 side Clermont Foot 63’s 27-year-old defender Cederic Houtondji.

Additional reports from Il Corriere dello Sport (via Il Napolista) pitch in two more names to add to the list of Napoli’s targets.

Premier League duo Davinson Sanchez of Tottenham and Malang Sarr from Chelsea are touted to be attainable transfers for the Partenopei. Colombian defender Sanchez, 25, has started playing more regularly under new coach Conte. Whereas Sarr, 22, has been unused for most of Chelsea’s campaign.

Both will first be scouted for a potential loan deal.