Lorenzo Insigne has been cutting in from the left flank and curling absolute stunners into the top corner season after season for SSC Napoli, but the rest of Europe has been sleeping on his talents.
That is until he executed his trademark move against Belgium in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020, doubling Italy’s lead and sending them on the march towards immortal glory.
Insigne was instrumental in the Azzurri’s European triumph, demonstrating to the world exactly what he is capable of on his day. It was undoubtedly the best summer of his career, but incredibly poorly timed for his hometown club, Napoli.
Interest has now peaked in the 30-year-old’s availability and that curiosity has intensified with the knowledge that only one year remains on his current deal. Napoli do not want to lose their captain and are hoping he’ll put pen to paper on a new contract, but even more crucially, they don’t want to lose him for free.
I Partenopei have set a €30m price tag on Insigne’s head, hoping it will dissuade buyers from making bids and hand them more time to hash out a contract for their superstar. So far, no offers have arrived.
But where could Insigne end up this summer, should an interested party pull the trigger? 90min assesses his possible future destinations and ranks them on how likely they are to come to fruition.
It feels a bit mad including a club with minus figures in their bank account in this list, but you can never rule out a Barcelona madness. La Blaugrana are ploughing ahead with their own transfer deals, despite the fact they can’t register any of them due to La Liga’s salary cap.
But fair play to the Catalonians, that’s not stopping them. So, if they were able to do the unthinkable and remove €200m from their yearly wage bill, would they then go in search of a player like Insigne?
Perhaps, and no matter how broke they are, Barça remain an attractive prospect to nostalgic footballers. Still, I wouldn’t go near them in this state.
Likelihood rating: 1/10
Of course, Insigne’s qualities have mostly been appreciated in Italy, and every top Serie A club would love to have him on their books. The likes of Milan and AS Roma have been named as potentially interested parties, while Juventus are always in the mix.
However, the winger knows that a move to another Italian side would tarnish his relationship with Napoli supporters – perhaps beyond repair. Neapolitans are a loyal people and they expect the same of their heroes, or they’ll face the consequences.
Our guess is Insigne would much rather put pen to paper on a new contract or consider options abroad before ruining his Napoli legacy with a move to one of their direct rivals.
Likelihood rating: 2/10
In some weird universe, this transfer would make sense. That universe being the same one as now but three years ago, when Tottenham Hotspur were a club on the up, reaching Champions League finals and challenging for Premier League titles.
Those glory days are a distant memory for the north Londoners, and they must start from scratch this summer. The prospect of signing Insigne is tantalising, and in this market, he’s affordable.
They shouldn’t get too carried away. however. The Jules Kounde rejection debacle tells you everything you need to know about this current edition of Spurs. Don’t try and run before you can walk, because people on the internet will laugh at you.
Likelihood rating: 3/10
Real Madrid, AKA the wannabe saviours of football (if you listen to Florentino Perez, anyway) need to shift out a few players before considering bringing any in. Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard are two major problem children for the club, and their wages alone account for 13% of Los Blancos’ entire wage bill.
Should they be able to cut the duo loose, there’d be room for manoeuvres in the transfer window. No matter how much money they earn in player sales, it’ll never be enough to land long-term target Kylian Mbappe this year.
Given all that, Madrid would surely jump at the chance to sign a player with the quality of Insigne at the price of only €30m, who would solve so many problems in that final third. A lot of deadwood to shift first, though.
Likelihood rating: 6/10
Even though Paris is a wonderful city for shopping, their football club has become infatuated with the bright lights of Milan and Italy. They’ve signed Achraf Hakimi from Inter, Gianluigi Donnarumma from Milan and are also looking at his former teammate Theo Hernandez.
Paris Saint-Germain could be tempted to make a trip south to Naples to continue their shopping spree. They do boast plenty of attacking firepower, but with the prospect of losing Mbappe for absolutely nothing looming large, they may need to lay the foundations for his replacement.
Insigne would tear full backs apart in Ligue 1 and he’d be guaranteed Champions League football every season. Win win?
Likelihood rating: 6.5/10
Now, if Liverpool are really pursuing West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen, who’ll likely cost north of £30m, is it that mental to suggest they could potentially swoop for Insigne instead?
The Italian may be older, but he’s also cheaper, more experienced at the top level and a proven winner. He has played as part of a front three for years at Napoli too, meaning he’d be no stranger to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics.
Admittedly, Liverpool’s finances appear to be a bit of a cause for concern right now with their lack of transfer activity, but they’ve got to spend something, right? A valuable addition to the squad.
Likelihood rating: 7/10
Chelsea really are spoiling the fun for everyone, aren’t they? Roman Abramovich has found his chequebook once again and the incessant spending doesn’t appear close to stopping.
Their €100m bid for Federico Chiesa tells us they’re in the market for a winger, and with Juventus refusing to budge, perhaps they could turn to his national compatriot as an alternative.
Do they need him? Probably not. Will that stop them from signing him? Absolutely not.
Likelihood rating: 8/10