Napoli Club Focus: Parma suffer from Hamsik-ness as Tardini is finally defeated
Last weekend saw the Partenopei break the last remaining Serie A stronghold, as the Ennio Tardini witnessed its first loss of the season. Goals by Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani saw off Roberto Donadoni’s men but more importantly put Napoli within one victory of league leaders Juventus, the gap now closed down to just three points.
The turn of the New Year has been quite fantastic for the San Paolo faithful. Despite some criticism, including from us here at Club Focus, Mazzarri has got things just right and the most important time, during a patch of uncertainty up north in Turin. The reinstatement of the two point penalty and the rescinding of the Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava bans appear to have further galvanised the team to the extent where they are the only team to leave the Ennio Tardini with maximum points.
The club continues to be active in the transfer market and has finally added a centre back of note to the squad. Portuguese defender Rolando has been signed on loan with an option to buy. The now ex-Porto player is an international and has the potential to be one of the steals of the January transfer window. The reported terms of the deal include a one million euro payment to his former club with a further 7 million in June if the Neapolitans wish to make the move permanent. Not such a bad deal when considering the current crop of centre backs at the San Paolo.
There has also been the announcement that Croatian midfielder, Josip Radosevic, has further swelled the numbers at Mazzarri’s disposal. Born in 1994 and having been brought up at Hajduk Split, much is hoped for this young talent who last year became the youngest player to ever play for Croatia, when he made his debut against Belgium.
However, Radosevic may not be the final newcomer to join during this Winter market. There looks to be a definite change in the goalkeeper situation with current backup up custodian, Antonio Rosati, almost certain to leave. Sporting director, Riccardo Bigon, is hoping to take the Brazilian Neto from Fiorentina with Rosati heading to Florence as a backup to Emiliano Viviano. This deal may also have one eye on the future of the number one Azzurri jersey, with Neto possibly being prepared to eventually take over from the current first team keeper, Morgan De Sanctis. With both De Sanctis and Neto having made high profile howlers this season, it does appear to signal a maintaining of the status-quo as opposed to a player upgrade.
Surely the Partenopei deserve someone better…?
The weekend has Napoli hosting another very dangerous opponent in Catania. The Sicilians are currently in what can only be described as ‘white hot’ form, sitting seventh in the league table playing the kind of football that is almost making a mockery of last season’s superb achievements under Vincenzo Montella.
Mazzarri is fortunate that he does not need to blood his new players immediately. His squad is almost fully fit other than a slight doubt over Christian Maggio who has a fracture in his left hand. The Italian international has been training with a protective strapping to the injury but it still remains to be seen whether he will be passed fit to play at the weekend.
It is not only the senior team in Naples that is enjoying a rich vein of form. The Primavera side has reached the final of the Coppa Italia after a 2-0 win over AS Roma. The goals were rather interestingly scored by the two players that were singled as ‘ones to watch’ in our Club Focus Ultra interview with Marcello Devizio, Roberto Insigne and Soma Novothny. Insigne Jr’s goal being a highlight, having dribbled into the box and angling his shot past the Giallorossi goalkeeper.
It appears that at this moment the saying ‘success breeds success’ has never been more in evidence in ‘Napuli’.