Are Napoli set to sell their star midfielder?
According to rumours in Italy, Napoli captain Marek Hamšík could find himself leaving the San Paolo in January.
According to rumours in Italy, Napoli are set to sell their captain Marek Hamšík in January. The attacking midfielder continued his poor form in their miserable 2-2 draw against newly-promoted Empoli on the weekend, and was apparently jeered by his own fans. Certainly, the Slovakian international has been struggling for form for a couple of seasons now, but could it really have cost him his place at the partenopei? Let’s take a closer look:
Why it makes sense
Hamšík has been in pretty rotten form ever since Rafael Benítez took over from Walter Mazzarri last summer. He hasn’t enjoyed playing in the attacking midfield role in the Spaniard’s possession-based 4-2-3-1, excelling in a counter-attacking style of football that Mazzarri used to such great effect during his tenure. With neither Hamšík, nor Benítez showing a willingness or ability to adapt, it may be better that they go their separate ways.
What’s more, Napoli now have a wealth of options who could fill that spot instead of Hamšík. Indeed, there have been times when Belgian winger Dries Mertens has been shifted central by Benítez, who seems to prefer smaller, more technical players in the spot just behind Gonzalo Higuaín. Plus, with Hamšík now 27, Napoli need to sell him now if they want to rake in some serious cash. Let him get any older, and his price will start to drop.
Why it doesn’t make sense
Sure, Hamšík isn’t in form, but when at his best, he’s one of the most underrated players on the planet. In his final season under Mazzarri he was carving out chances and scoring goals for fun, and was perhaps the best player in Serie A. Realistically, there’s no better player Napoli would be able to get to fill Hamšík’s position, even if they did want to sell him.
Plus, Hamšík has always expressed a desire to spend the remainder of his career in Naples, and is a genuine cult hero at the club. Unlike Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, who weren’t shy about their desire to move elsewhere, Hamšík seems to be perfectly happy at the club.
Finally, this move doesn’t make sense because there have been no reports of anyone really interested in signing Hamšík. If he was to leave, it would presumably be to one of Europe’s stronger teams, but at present, it’s hard to imagine anyone taking the risk to sign a player who has been in such poor form. Even if Napoli did want to sell him, they’d have to look pretty hard to find a buyer at a price they could stomach.
Likelihood it happens
True, Hamšík has been pretty terrible of late, and true, he doesn’t seem to get along with Rafa Benítez. But this rumour seems to be the result of someone just putting those things together and taking a wild guess, rather than 3 out of 10 chance.