Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso was thrilled by Andrea Petagna’s impact after the reported Arsenal target scored a Serie A winner this weekend, as reported by TuttoNapoli.
With Pep Guardiola’s steely-eyed protégé seemingly settling on a three-pronged attack at the Emirates, the jury is certainly out on whether Alexandre Lacazette is the man to lead the line for this inconsistent Gunners side.
The Frenchman might have scored three times in five Premier League games so far in 2020/21 but it’s fair to say he is not the kind of physical targetman capable of shrugging off man-mountain centre-halves while opening up spaces for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and co.
And if it’s a classic, old-school number nine Arteta wants, then Petagna might have been the better bet.
Calciomercato reports that the former Manchester City coach felt that Petagna was tailor-made for English football with his giant, barrel-chested frame ensuring that he can thrive in the areas where Lacazette is often found wanting.
Unfortunately for Arteta, however, Gattuso his own plans for Petagna this season.
And owner Aurelio De Laurentiis had his coach’s back, rejecting an August offer from an Arsenal side who saw the £15 million bull of a centre-forward as the final piece in their attacking jigsaw.
It’s fair to say Gattuso’s faith is being rewarded already.
It was he who scored the second-half winner in Napoli’s 2-1 win at Benevento this weekend after all.
“Petagna? He is a player who can make us comfortable. He has strength, he knows how to play, we like how he defends the ball. He is ‘fake slow’. When he picks up speed it’s not bad,” Gattuso said of a man who’s deceptive pace is already proving a useful asset.