At the cost of stating the obvious, there seems to be a very strong Argentine connection at Napoli lately. Obviously everyone remembers the late 1980′s, a time during which the most famous Argentine player in history lead the Partenopei to glory, and the only two Scudetto championships of Napoli history. Since the time of Diego Maradona though, there really haven’t been any major Albiceleste players signed with the Neapolitan club (also due to their recent relegation bad luck), with the notable exception of Roberto Ayala from 1995 to 1998.
This season however, with the return of the club in Serie A and the purchases of Ezequiel Lavezzi from San Lorenzo and Nicolás Navarro from Argentinos Juniors (on top of Roberto “El Pampa” Sosa, at the club since 2004) have re-invigorated Argentine pride in Southern Italy. Lavezzi in particular (nicknamed “El Pocho”) has been doing wonders for Napoli since his arrival, and earned comparisons with El Pibe de Oro many times over thanks to his mad skills, speed, agility, and vital goalscoring qualities.
Well, after Navarro, Sosa, and Lavezzi, there could be yet another Argentine arriving at Edy Reja’s court. His name? Javier Pedro Saviola, yet another from that endless list of players who’s been compared to Maradona, at some point or another in his career. Indeed according to the Spanish press, the Real Madrid striker was offered to Napoli directly through his agent Jorge Cysterpiller.
Saviola, who’s been virtually finding zero space in Bern Schuster’s plans this season, will likely see his playing chances decrease even further next season with the rumored arrivals of Roman Pavlyuchenko (Spartak Moscow) and Gabriel Obertan (Bordeaux) at Madrid. As a result, the transfer to Napoli would come as a welcome move both for the Argentine player and the Italian club, especially with on-loan Marcelo Zalayeta set to return to Juventus at the end of the season.
Real Madrid are reportedly prepared to part with Saviola for a bargain price of €5m. For a 26-year old who was litterally on fire at the beginning of the 2006-07 with the Blaugrana, I’d say that’s a very good price.
To be noted that while at Barcelona, the former River Plate striker had already been linked with a move to Italy, but finally opted to transfer to Real Madrid. According to Wikipedia, Saviola has only played 6 matches for Los Merengues this season, scoring 2 goals.