North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham are currently linked to potential deals with Serie A giants Napoli but could one deal impact the other?
The Gunners are currently linked with Napoli and Italy star Lorenzo Insigne whom Napoli are keen to keep hold of this summer. The 23-year-old winger is the subject of interest from Arsenal but Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has ‘laughed off’ suggestions the Gunners could seal a deal for £20 million and stated the player was worth closer to £70 million.
Meanwhile, Tottenham winger Erik Lamela has been linked in recent weeks and months with a move in the opposite direction from North London to Naples after an injury-ridden debut season at White Hart Lane. The 22-year-old Argentine and former Roma winger has been dismissed as a target by De Laurentiis who revealed he wanted the player a year ago but is not pursuing the Spurs man.
However, a deal for Insigne to Arsenal could find Napoli manager Rafael Benitez in need of a like-for-like replacement and the Serie A outfit could potential see Lamela as just that. De Laurentiis also admitted Napoli are pursuing Spurs’ defensive midfielder Sandro.
Should Tottenham offer Lamela to Napoli for a fee below his £30 million price tag last summer, Arsenal may have a much better chance of signing Insigne. This would not be the first instance the North London rivals’ transfer fortunes have been intertwined – last summer Spurs’ sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid on a world record fee prompted the Spanish giants to put Mesut Ozil on the market which Arsenal took advantage of with their club record signing completed just days after Bale’s departure from Spurs.
New Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino may, however, feel his young compatriot has a future at Spurs, despite a difficult debut season in the Premier League hampered by injury. Lamela scored just one goal for Spurs this term across 17 appearances in all competitions, falling way short of his 15 goals in 33 appearances for Roma in 2012/13 before his move to London.
However, Napoli will know better than most just how dangerous the Spurs winger is capable of being in front of goal and could simply be playing hardball over a potential deal with Arsenal over Insigne. The Italy international will have the ideal opportunity to put himself in the shop window this summer at the World Cup after an impressive season scoring 9 goals and making 11 assists in all competitions for Napoli.