Faouzi Ghoulam spoke to the press during the annual presentation of Napoli’s 2018 calendar about his injury and the Scudetto race as reported by CalcioNapoli24. He tore his cruciate ligament in his right knee during a loss against Manchester City on November 1st. He stated that he was feeling fine and recovering well- “I hope to be back on the pitch soon. We have an excellent medical staff, I’ve been here for 4 years and worked very little with them because I’ve had very few problems, now I understand their tremendous work”.
He then commented on how difficult it is changing perspectives from being a key component in Sarri’s system to watching on the sidelines. “It annoys me that I went from being an active person in the group to being passive, now I become a fan of the team, it hurts me not play as I am urging to help the team. We’ve have 2 losses in 50 games, our defeats are only making us stronger as a team and the future looks bright. When asked about the Scudetto, Ghoulam replied- “Napoli impresses me, we have to support the team because they need it, we don’t have to think about our opponents but focus on ourselves as we have the opportunity to do something very special and make history. There are many great teams in Serie A and we respect them, we hope to come back to try and win the Scudetto”.
Ghoulam’s performances last season in Serie A saw him emerge as one of Europe’s most in-demand defenders. He provided 10 assists in 38 appearances in all competitions from left-back and has continued to impress. However, his recent injury seems to have sparked some problems for Sarri as it is becoming evident that Napoli has very little depth within the squad. Mario Rui and Cristian Maggio are playing well but are only temporary solutions to the backend and it does not only stop there. Milik’s injury was also a big blow as there is now a large hole to fill in the top striker position. Although Mertens is handling the striker duties quite well, there needs to be another top nine striker available as a lack of squad rotation and fatigue are quickly catching up to the Partenopei. Reinforcements must be at the forefront on ADL’s agenda during the January transfer window if Napoli want to continue challenging for the league title.
With only a year left on his contract at Napoli, there was speculation that an exit could be imminent. Theoretically, Ghoulam could be signed on a free transfer in January should Napoli fail to renew his contract. However, negotiations appear to be progressing well and appears to be on the verge of signing a new deal until 2022, putting an end to the rumors and bringing happiness to the Napoli faithful.