Some news on the goalkeeping front for Napoli in the past 24 hours as rumors have Szczesny close to accepting a backup up role with Juventus. Also, as Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri accepted yet another coaching award, he also emphasized Reina’s importance to the team concluding “I hope he remains our goalkeeper for a long time.” All while reports linking Napoli with a move for current backup Juventus keeper Neto have increased; much to the chagrin of Napoli faithful.
What does it all mean?
Well first we’ll have to wait for the Szczesny situation to settle. There were even reports this morning saying he may want to find away to remain at Roma. Plus, does a move to Turin in a back up role to Buffon really make sense for his career, especially with the World Cup in Russia approaching next summer? Does Roma need to pay to keep him when they are already invested in two talented young keepers, Skorupski and Alisson? His familiarity with the league, ability to speak Italian, technical ability with his feet, and experience at the highest levels, made Szczesny seem like an ideal fit to come in to this Napoli side and immediately make his claim for the starting role. If Napoli fail to land him, then the question will be if they see anybody else on the market that can offer them that same sort of feeling and security. At this point, it seems that any candidate will be missing at least some of characteristics that make Szczesny such an attractive option. German keeper Bernd Leno could be one option but his lack of familiarity with the Italian language and Serie A makes him perhaps a riskier bet, especially for a role like goalkeeper in which communication with the defense is so important. The other route for Napoli to take would be to continue with Reina for the next year or two and instead look for a player to fill more of a backup sort of role. Hence the recent links with Neto. However, I think I speak for most Azzurri faithful in hoping that we steer away from the Juventus backup and look to bring in players that seem to offer more potential and upside. Personally, as we don’t need to spend much in other positions this summer, I’d love to see the club bring in, not one, but two, talented youngsters and have them compete for their place in the summer. Before the season starts, the winner of that competition could stay on to backup and even compete with Reina for the starting role while the other could be sent on loan to get more first team experience. Meret and Cragno look like they could both be potential stars and Napoli would do well in securing their future at that position by scooping up both if possible.
Sarri’s words make it seem that at least the coach is fine with continuing with the Spaniard in goal — though really what else would we expect him to say? However, the critical question to ask may be how do De Laurentiis and Giuntoli feel about the goalkeeping situation, not only for the upcoming year, but in years to come. My feeling is that Szczesny could be seen as an ideal short-term and long-term solution, so our future at the position may at first hinge around the decisions the Polish keeper makes about his own future in the coming days. Of course I could be completely wrong and Napoli could surprise us in the coming days or weeks with an unexpected move. It wouldn’t be the first time the Azzurri managed to keep their true intentions on the transfer market out of the spotlight. We’ll have to wait and see.