Rafa Benitez’s Napoli sit third in Serie A and are nearly guaranteed Champions League football for next season, albeit with a play-off to get through.
Meanwhile, the David Moyes project at Manchester United has got off to a rough start in a season to forget at Old Trafford.
This said, the two clubs share a few of the same problems.
One that stands out above others in in midfield. Each side can count on a wealth of attack-minded talent in the centre of the park, but the same can’t be said of deeper roles.
Benitez looked to address this issue in January by bringing in Maxime Gonalons from Lyon, a player Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has long been interested in.
But Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas backed out of a deal at the eleventh hour, drawing the ire of Napoli counterpart Aurelio De Laurentiis.
Speculation suggested the San Paolo giants would return for Gonalons in the summer - but the fixed attention on Barcelona duo Alex Song and Javier Mascherano instead. The twist is that Barcelona’s transfer ban has seemingly made the pair indispensable.
And this is where Napoli learned that United had slipped in for Gonalons to solve their own midfield problems.
Il Mattino have claimed that in turning back to their failed January signing, the Partenopei have been told to move quickly - or risk seeing him move to Old Trafford.
The report reads: “Equally clear was the reply of the French deep-lying playmaker’s agent [to Napoli]: hurry because Manchester United are seriously interested.”
Talksport also linked Gonalons with United this week, so Moyes and company’s interest in the midfielder seems to be gaining traction.
One would think Napoli would have the inside track after January negotiations, but it appears the Red Devils have stolen a march on them in the meantime.
A tug-of-war for Gonalons may indeed be on the cards, as it remains unclear how this one will play out when the transfer window opens this summer.