Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis is ready to sell some top stars as a result of his lockdown row with the squad, according to reports from Gazzetta dello Sport. Several Napoli players rejected the opportunity to return to the lockdown, which has culminated in threats of fines, the potential dismissal of Carlo Ancelotti, and key players such as Dries Mertens leaving.
Dries Mertens Reportedly Heading for Napoli Exit
After a 2-1 league loss to Roma last weekend that saw the southerners slip to seventh in Serie A, De Laurentiis directed the team to be held in a training camp. However, when Ancelotti disagreed with the lockdown, all players returned home following the 1-1 Champions League draw with RB Salzburg. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, De Laurentiis, in fact, wanted to give Ancelotti the boot as a result of that. Eventually, he was talked out of it by his lawyers.
“The responsibility to decide on ordering days in a training retreat lies with coach Carlo Ancelotti,” the club said in a statement Wednesday. The club also threatened action against the players.
President Willing to Part With Stars
After no wins in their last five matches, the Partenopei are in full-blown crisis mode. The team is now planning a mass exodus, beginning with star Dries Mertens.
Gazzetta dello Sport says Dries Mertens will likely be one of the many stars who will face the exit door in January, as Inter Milan are keeping eyes on the situation. It is reported that the 32-year-old Belgian forward is not close to reaching an agreement with De Laurentiis for a contract renewal, with his leadership of the squad’s protest about the training retreat pushing a potential deal even further away.
Furthermore, the report adds that Mertens is a good friend of Inter striker Romelu Lukaku, who may convince him to join and help the Nerazzurri keep up the pressure on the Bianconeri in the race for the league title. In addition, Corriere dello Sport confirmed it, but added that the Belgian has, in fact, agreed to join Inter, but as a free agent when his Napoli contract expires in the summer.
Not Just Dries Mertens
The door will also be shown to Spanish winger Jose Callejon, who has drawn attention from China, who would be able to offer the Spaniard a lucrative deal. Club captain Lorenzo Insigne is also thought to have reached his final Napoli days, as well as Kalidou Koulibaly, who is a long-term target for Manchester United.