Napoli Rebuild – Tierney, James & Icardi
During this summer, Napoli was linked to several players. Kieran Tierney, James Rodriguez and Mauro Icardi are just some of them. But, from today’s perspective, neither of them will join a club from the city at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. Tierney is closer to staying in UK, James Rodriguez is on his way to Atletico Madrid and Mauro Icardi, apparently, isn’t an option anymore. Namely, Napoli’s owner Aurelio De Laurentiis and Icardi’s wife/agent Wanda Nara are not in good relationship.
Such a shame. Although I’m not Napoli fan, moreover, I don’t like them at all, I think that these three player would completly change the image of the club which is playing on Stadio San Paolo. I don’t know why, it seems like they would give them some new dimension. Not only by quality, I would say that the arrival of such three players would marked by the beginning of a new era for Napoli as a club.
Beginning: “Napoli at a path to the top”
Of course, except Tierney, James and Icardi, another two players have signed for Napoli – Kostas Manolas and Giovanni Di Lorenzo. Currently, there is 30 players is the squad. It’s too much but some players could be sold by the end of the transfer window. Manager Carlo Ancelotti has may options on disposition.
In these kind of simulations, I always turn on the option “Disable First Window Transfer Activity”. During January, Napoli brought only one player. Defender Jesus Vallejo came from Real Madrid on loan. Two players left the club. Amin Younes has signed for FC København and Vlad Chiricheș for Espanyol. These two players didn’t even play in the first part of the season so it’s not big loss.
Despite of arrival of three players I wrote about at the beginning, Napoli finished another season with no trophies. Actually, they didn’t come even close to a trophy. Juventus won 13 point more in Serie A and Inter finished on second place. Napoli third. In Coppa Italia and Champions League they have been stopped in quarter finals. Inter and Manchester City were better.
Despite a solid season, James haven’t managed to win the place in the best eleven. The place behind the main striker was taken by Dries Mertens who, although be made only 21 appearances from the start, scored 13 golas and was third best Napoli’s player by average rating. Better then him were Lorenzo Insigne (50 appearances , 14 golas, 21 assists) and Mauro Icardi (38/19/2). Fabian Ruiz also had a great season with 14 assists and 3 goals from 44 appearances.
Second season of this simulation have marked by selling. Two first team choices on full back positions, Elseid Hysaj and Kieran Tierney, left the club. Marko Rog, David Ospina, Nikola Maksimović, Lorenzo Tonelli and some less important players joined them. Napoli made a total of €117m. As in the case of departures, the highest attention in arrivals was paid to defenders. Club’s new goalkeeper is Keylor Navas, bought from Real Madrid for €27m. Defenders Serge Aurier and Aymeric Laporte came on loan. The attack was strengthen by arrivals of winger Vinicius Junior and young striker Kevin Cannavo, and in January, the young midfielder Benfica Tiago Dantas was approached to the club on loan.
Judging by results, a little bit better season from the previous one. Points difference compared to Juventus was reduced to 10 points, and Napoli won second place in Serie A. But, they finally won a trophy. After beating Milan in semi final, Napoli was better than Roma after extra time in the final of the Coppa Italia. In Champions League, Manchester City was better for a second season in a row, this time in the 1st knockout round.
Second season in a row, Lorenzo Insigne is the best Napoli’s player by average rating. This time, not that convincingly. He scored 17 goals and 7 assists in 40 appearances, and close to him is Mauro Icardi with 25 golas and 3 assists in 48 appearances. On the third place is one of this year’s reinforcments – Aymeric Laporte with 2 golas, 5 assist and, more importantly, 4,79 completed tackles by the game in 46 appearances.
Before the start of the third season, some transfers have been made. This time, no first team players have been sold. The biggest outgoing transfer was Arkadiusz Milik who signed for Huddersfield for €15m. Atalanta signed Adam Ounas and other notable outgoing transfers are Simone Verdi and Kevin Malcuit. After the loan expired, Napoli bought Serge Aurier from Tottenham for €9.75m. They also singed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Romelu Lukaku on loan and young Brasilian wonderkid Reinier for €21.5m
Catastrophe! After one step forward from the last season, this season Napoli has been made two steps back. For the first time after six seasons they didn’t succeed to qualify to the Champions League. Fifth place in Serie A is the reason why Carlo Ancelotti got sacked at the beginning of march. Joachim Löw came on his place and scored 7 wins, 3 draws and 1 defeat. Wasn’t enough to the Champions League. Coppa Italia brought another defeat in quarter final, and CL another defeat in 1st knockout round, this time against PSG. Defeat in Supercoppa Italia should also be noted.
The only constant through these three seasons were Lorenzo Insigne and Mauro Icardi. Third season in a row, Italian is the best player by average rating. This time he scored 15 goals and 15 assists in 49 appearances. Argentinian scored 15 goals in 29 appearances. After a little bit worse last season, Fabian Ruiz is back with a good games. He made 49 appearances and scored 4 golas and 12 assists.
Conclusion: “Napoli didn’t succeed”
To bring Tierney, James and Icardi, Napoli should spent between 140 and 160 million euros. Should we add purchases from this summer – Kostas Manolas (€36m) and Giovanni Di Lorenzo (€8m), the total investment would be around 200 million euros. Too much for only one trophy – Coppa Italia. Only Icardi justified invested money. He scored 59 golas in 115 appearances. Tierney left the club after one and half season and 56 appearances, and James could be named as a disappointment because he made 121 appearances but with only 22 golas and 17 assists.
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