Napoli are considering rivalling Arsenal for the transfer of Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge after losing Diego Demme to injury, according to Calciomercato.
The Serie A outfit have confirmed Demme faces an unknown period on the sidelines after sustaining a high-grade sprain to the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. The 29-year-old underwent scans at Villa Stuart on Sunday and will continue to be evaluated.
Napoli are yet to determine the length of time Demme will need to fully recover and return for Luciano Spalletti. So, the Azzurri are assessing potential options who could move to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona ahead of their curtain-raiser with Venezia on August 22.
Napoli have long admired Berge as a potential target and are studying a move to sign the Arsenal target from Sheffield United. The Blades have been playing hardball over the Norwegian’s future since their relegation, as Arsenal have found out during negotiations.
Sheffield United refuse to lower their £35m asking price and have been reluctant to allow Arsenal to sign Berge on the Gunners’ desired terms, per The Star. Mikel Arteta’s side want to land the 23-year-old with a lower upfront instalment and the rest paid over his contract.
Arsenal are yet to agree on terms with Sheffield United for Berge, but the Blades may accept a compromise. The Star expect the Bramall Lane side will accept a lower fee if the Gunners remove any unrealistic performance-related add-ons.
Napoli could now swoop on Sheffield United’s stance to beat Arsenal to Berge after losing Demme for the foreseeable future. The German started 20 of his 24 Serie A appearances last season and would likely have been key under Spalletti.
Napoli could deal Arsenal double Berge blow with Sheffield United deal
Napoli signing Berge from Sheffield United could deal Arsenal another blow in their pursuit of the £33,000-per-week maestro. The Blades have put relentless hurdles between Arteta and the 24-cap international since their relegation to the Championship last season.
Arsenal offered Sheffield United €20m (£17m) for Berge in May, per Jeunes Footeux, but the bid was nowhere near enough. Now, Napoli’s desperation for depth in Spalletti’s engine room could see Arteta miss out if Edu cannot offer more.
And in doing so, Arteta would lose out on a player Rhian Brewster has lauded since moving to Bramall Lane. The former Liverpool striker told Soccer AM in April: “He’s a Rolls-Royce.”