Napoli are closing in on the signing of Verona striker Giovanni Simeone as Luciano Spalletti said the Serie A club are beginning a “new cycle” following a host of big-name exits.
Spalletti’s team threatened a first Scudetto since the Diego Maradona era before tailing off to finish third last season, but have since seen the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne depart.
Reports have suggested Napoli will combat the losses of Mertens and Insigne – the top two goalscorers in the club’s history – by bringing in Verona striker Simeone on an initial loan deal.
Simeone – the son of Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone – scored 17 Serie A goals last season, a tally bettered only by Ciro Immobile (27), Dusan Vlahovic (24) and Lautaro Martinez (21).
The Argentine averaged a goal every 157 minutes throughout the campaign, converting 55 per cent of his big chances.
Ahead of Napoli travelling to Verona for their Serie A opener on Monday, Spalletti revealed the striker’s arrival was imminent as he pledged to rebuild the Partenopei’s side.
“If everything is okay, of course he will come, we are waiting for him, if you stay, say hello to him too!” Spalletti said amid reports Simeone was undergoing a medical with Napoli.
“He is one we need and Naples is what he needs, it is a correct purchase.
2 days till #VeronaNapoli
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) August 13, 2022
“We will do our best right away, and that I am convinced that we will make the fans fall in love again, as happened last year.
“Now we are talking about a Napoli that no longer sees in their ranks the most important players, and there is talk of players for a new cycle.
“It’s a responsibility that stimulates me a lot. Of course, a little support from the city and society is needed, the most difficult things are those of the changing room dynamics.
“They changed without [Faouzi] Ghoulam, [David] Ospina, Mertens and Insigne. In addition to the game dynamics there are those of character, and we have to recreate those there. I’m not afraid of anything.”