Venerdì, 21 Settembre 2018

Soccer: Napoli face post-Cavani future


(By Denis Greenan).
Naples, July 10 - Napoli are facing the prospect of
fighting for Champions League football without the most potent
weapon in their armoury, Uruguay star Edinson Cavani, who is set
for a hugely lucrative moved to Paris Saint-Germain.
The 64.5-million-euro deal, second biggest in the club's
history only to that which brought soccer legend Diego Maradona
to Naples in the 1980s, was set to be inked Wednesday.
"We'll be sorry to see him go but we think we can find the
resources to plug the gap," said new coach Rafa Benitez, former
Liverpool and Chelsea boss.
Cavani, who recently shone at the Confederations Cup, will
be a hard act to follow when he joins former Napoli clubmate
Ezequiel Lavezzi at Laurent Blanc's renewed set-up at PSG.
The lean, mean Uruguay centre-forward notched a remarkable
tally of 78 goals in 104 games for the southern Italian club
since joining them from Palermo in 2010.
Benitez said Napoli, who qualified for the top flight of
European soccer in 2012 but narrowly missed out last season,
would be targeting Porto's Colombian forward Jackson Martinez as
well as Internacional's Brazilian Leandro Damiao.
An initial offer for the Brazilian was knocked back
Wednesday but Benitez said "we'll keep trying".
They already have a serviceable back-up forward on their
books, having signed former Espanyol and Real Madrid attacking
midfielder Jose Maria Callejon for the relatively cheap price of
nine million euros.
Italy great Fabio Cannavaro visited Napoli's training
ground Wednesday for the first pre-season gathering at his
home-town club where his younger brother Paolo is still captain
and defensive stalwart.
Asked who might be able to fill Cavani's shooting boots,
World Cup 2006 hero Cannavaro said "the obvious choice is
(Manchester City forward Edin) Dzeko, although it might be hard
to wrestle him out of City's grasp".
The arrival of the towering Bosnia frontman might be made
easier, however, if City manage to lure Fiorentina's Montenegrin
star Stevan Jovetic away from the competing bids of Italian
champions Juventus, Spanish champs Real Madrid, Premier League
title holders Manchester United and Jose' Mourinho's retooling
Jovetic's reported yen to find a different stamping ground
for his precocious talents was increased by this week's signing
of Germany centre-forward Mario Gomez from Bayern Munich.
Another player leaving Florence is reportedly second striker
Adem Ljalic.
The Serb hitman was said to have reached a deal with Silvio
Berlusconi's AC Milan, the ex-premier and media mogul's only buy
after he said the existing AC line-up was "good enough already"
to lift its 19th Serie A crown.
In other transfer news, Juve were said to have agreed terms
with Torino for midfielder Angelo Ogbonna while ex-Brazil
veteran Robinho is reported to be heading home from Milan to his
old club Santos.

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