Napoli: Insigne, Koulibaly, Mertens, Callejón could leave
Carlo Ancelotti may soon be available as his relationship with Aurelio De Laurentiis hits the rocks while several star players are considering their futures.
Napoli’s 2019-20 campaign has hit the rocks in a way few could have predicted after providing the only serious competition for Juventus in recent years. A player revolt against a club order to remain under match preparation conditions last week was completely ignored by the entire squad with Aurelio De Laurentiis placing the blame on the shoulders of Carlo Ancelotti, who the Napoli president had publicly backed only days earlier while pointing the finger for the side’s recent poor form at the coach’s charges.
The sense of impending meltdown hanging over San Paolo was hardly eased at the weekend when De Laurentiis’ recalcitrant employees played out a 0-0 draw against 17th-placed Genoa. Ancelotti’s side will feel they deserved more from that game, the home team registering seven shots on target only to be denied by a man-of-the-match performance from Genoa keeper Ionut Radu but results are what matter to De Laurentiis and the numbers do not match the script the fil mogul has become accustomed to: Napoli are closer to the relegation zone than the summit of Serie A and already 13 points behind perennial champions Juve, a mountain that is probably already too high to scale.
After Napoli threatened legal action against the club’s players rumours abound that some of the squad’s most senior members are eyeing the exit door. Dries Mertens, who is just five short of Marek Hamsik’s club record goals tally and recently overtook Diego Maradona, and vice-captain José Callejón are both out of contract next summer and could be placed on the market in January to prevent their departures on free transfers in June. At this stage, renewals seem unlikely and Milan are reportedly interested in the Belgium international.
Ancelotti, Koulibaly, Insigne all facing uncertain futures
Lorenzo Insigne has also fallen foul of De Laurentiis, with the club captain an obvious lightning rod for the recent storm. The Italy international may be stripped of his position, according to reports in Italy, and may also be considering his future.
Kalidou Koulibaly, who has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid, the Premier League and a number of other clubs, may feel the time has come to finally make his move and there are question marks even over Ancelotti, whose position at the club has gone from cast-iron to wet paper bag in the space of a week. Given the managerial issues at several of Europe’s heavyweights, not least his former club AC Milan and Manchester United, the veteran schemer may also be wondering if it is worth remaining in Naples under current conditions.
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