When Arsenal were linked with Jose Callejon earlier this month, plenty of heads were turned.
Not just because the Spaniard is a gifted footballer who has flourished at Napoli, but because the rumour itself didn’t quite add up.
Callejon was said to be unhappy at the San Paolo despite a brilliant start to the campaign, with Napoli willing to accept a cut-price £16 million fee to ship him off to the Emirates.
Hold the phone. The report claimed that the Partenopei wanted to unload their top performer for far below market value to a club that had just purchased a similar player in Alexis Sanchez?
Yes, this coming at the same time that the Gunners have needs in other departments, too. Not to mention that Napoli had fought off Chelsea’s advances for Callejon in the summer.
Callejon had even confirmed that he knew his former boss at Real Madrid, the Blues’ Jose Mourinho, was interested in him – but didn’t want to leave southern Italy.
So why then, would Napoli sell for ‘just’ £16 million? The answer is they almost certainly wouldn’t, and new details have emerged that drive this idea home.
The Partenopei are no strangers to selling their stars – look no further than Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani – but for nothing less than considerable sums.
Callejon is on the doorstep of equaling Napoli legend Diego Maradona’s consecutive games with a goal in Serie A record at six and is not the type of player easily pried away.
The 27-year-old’s seven goals in eight appearances have kept Napoli afloat in a difficult period. They’ll need all they can get from him, and foreseeably would only consider selling next summer if at all.
Having paid only £8 million for the Spaniard in the summer of 2013 a sizeable return on investment is warranted if Napoli are to part ways with the former Real Madrid man.
Due to Mourinho’s interest Napoli appear to have taken precautions to ensure due compensation for Callejon, ruling out any sort of cut-price deal like the one said to be offered to Arsenal a few weeks ago.