Spalletti Dishes on Dybala Debacle and Mertens Successor

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti has spoken to Italian outlet Corriere della Sera (via TuttoNapoli) on a number of interesting topics, including the club’s failed move for Paulo Dybala, the farewell of Partenopei legend Dries Mertens, Giacomo Raspadori’s imminent arrival and his relationship with Aurelio De Laurentiis.

The ex-Roma manager appreciates how the club operated this summer.

“The new Napoli has turned in the direction of strong young players, downsizing of salaries and the philosophy of sustainability. I perceive skepticism around us, I’m sorry. Because we are doing our best to be ready. Thanks to a market that, within certain boundaries, is functional to our needs.”

He shed light upon the Partenopei’s failed attempt to sign then free agent Dybala.

“Dybala has not arrived. The team tried to get him, but you have to stop when there are some big obstacles.”

Club legend and all-time topscorer Mertens left the club after failing to extend his deal at the San Paolo, reflecting on which, Spalletti answered diplomatically.

“Let’s clarify: it wasn’t me, it wasn’t the club that didn’t want him with us. Mertens could have given us a great hand. But the club made him an offer and he didn’t accept it. I keep myself out of these dynamics, and rightly so.”

He then deemed Sassuolo starlet Raspadori as proper heir for Mertens.

“He is not one of my players, but he would have all the characteristics to help us. Young, strong, versatile in all attacking roles, intelligent and above all polite. He has personality, and we have lost some in the passage from one cycle to another. Let’s see, we would go in the right direction with his acquisition. He would be the natural replacement for Mertens.”

Finally, he shed light on his relationship with president De Laurentiis.

“Direct, frontal. And therefore true. Sometimes we need to compromise to see eye-to-eye. At times I start, others he does. We have two strong characters.”

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