Soccer: Napoli land Albiol, set for transfer spree

Club has 124.5-mn-euro transfer budget after Cavani sale

Soccer: Napoli land Albiol, set for transfer spree

(By Paul Virgo) Naples, July 17 - Chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis said Wednesday that Napoli were buying Spain defender Raul Albiol from Real Madrid and added that he was in talks to sign Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain from the Spanish giants. De Laurentiis also confirmed he was trying to land Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao from Internacional of Porto Alegre with the club set to go on a big transfer spree in the closed season. The chairman revealed that the club had a 124.5-million-euro transfer budget after the sale of Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain. When asked by a fan via Twitter what he would do with the money raised from the Cavani move, De Laurentiis replied that "64.5 (from the transfer) plus the 60 million I'd put in the budget make 124.5 to invest in Napoli with diligence and experience". As regards 27-year-old Albiol, De Laurentiis said "he's doing the medical (for the transfer). Let's hope he passes". De Laurentiis wants to give new coach Rafa Benitez a team capable of challenging for the Serie A title and enjoying a strong run in the Champions League. Napoli qualified for Europe's premier club competition by finishing second behind champions Juventus last season under Walter Mazzarri, who has moved to the Inter Milan bench. Cavani will be a hard act to follow as he scored 104 goals in all competitions for Napoli after moving from Palermo in 2010. Benitez said the two-time Italian champions are not looking for one single player to provide the same number of goals Cavani did, but want to strengthen their attack as a whole with several players. They have already signed former Espanyol and Real Madrid attacking midfielder-cum-striker Jose Maria Callejon and Belgium winger Dries Mertens. These players join the attacking talent Napoli already has, including Slovakia captain Marek Hamsik and Macedonia's Goran Pandev. "All the teams are trying to improve (with transfer-market dealings)," said former Valencia, Liverpool, Inter and Chelsea boss Benitez. "But Napoli have a competitive squad and it will be increasingly more so. "We have a double challenge in the Champions League and Serie A and we want to give our all on both fronts. "We want to be at our best to compete at high levels," added the Spanish coach. "We aren't looking for a striker who will score 40 goals (a season) because it will be difficult to find one. "But we have a group of strikers in the squad capable of scoring. "We want to score more goals than last season, maybe by having more strikers score goals. "The important thing is to get the players that we want, not just prestigious ones with big names. "For example, I think Callejon can score between 10 and 20 goals (a season)". Napoli are also reportedly in talks to sign Brazil keeper Julio Cesar from relegated English side Queens Park Rangers.

Lascia il tuo commento

Condividi le tue opinioni su Gazzetta del Sud online

Caratteri rimanenti: 400

Le altre notizie

i più letti di oggi