One of Rafael Benitez’s first tasks as the new boss of Napoli will be to keep star striker Edinson Cavani away from the clutches of the club he has just left; amongst others.
Chelseaand Manchester City are known admirers of the prolific Uruguayan who has also attracted interest from many of Europe’s other top clubs.
Benitez admits he is‘excited’ by his latest managerial challenge and will want to add quality, not lose it, to a squad which finished second but well short of champions Juventus in Serie A this season.
Cavani, like a certain Diego Maradona many moons ago, is the talisman of the Napoli side and the hero of the Italian club’s fanatical followers.
Benitez was quick to pay tribute to the Napoli supporters – a good move to get them on side after his experiences at Chelsea– but they would be none-too-happy to see their main man leave.
Cavani has scored well over 20 goals in each of his three seasons in Naples and is as important to the club as Messi is to Barcelona and Ronaldo to Real.
Napoli’s 26-year-old hit man has a ‘buy out’ clause in his contract, which has alerted Europe’s finest and Italian papers today report a first ‘official’ approach has been made by Chelsea.
A potential fee of £55m is being talked about and it goes without saying Manchester City would be well-equipped to deal with that, especially if Carlos Tevez is allowed to leave.
Real Madrid have also been mentioned in despatches (no surprise there) and Benitez clearly faces a massive fight to hang on to Napoli’s prized asset.
Cavani has recently gone on record as saying ‘if an important offer were to come in, I will talk with president Aurelio De Laurentiis’. No smoke without fire, as they say.
But the fact Napoli will be playing Champions League football next season could be a factor, along with the persuasive tongue of new man at the helm Benitez.
Watch this space.