Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis is planning to complete the transfer of David Ospina from Arsenal early, due to fitness concerns with alternate goalkeeper Alex Meret.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (via Napoli Sport) claim that the Napoli chairman is considering activating the €3.5m option-to-buy in Ospina’s contract early, in January. The Serie A side don’t have to make a decision until next June, but they’re moving early due to Alex Meret’s injury at the start of the season and ‘physical problems’ since then.
Meret joined Napoli over the summer, but pretty soon after that, he fractured his arm. Eventually, he returned to the squad late last month, but he’s only made one appearance since then. Instead of starting, he’s mostly just spent his time sitting on the bench for Ospina.
Napoli presumably want to get Ospina tied down to a permanent long-term contract while things are going well. If they wait until the end of the season and the goalkeeper has his head turned, he may reject joining them even if they activate their option-to-buy. Then the club will be left with a goalkeeper whose fitness they can’t rely on.
Fellow Italian outlet Il Mattino (via TuttoMercatoWeb) have also reported that Napoli could activate their option-to-buy in the winter window.
According to them, Napoli find Ospina to be ‘absolutely reliable’, aside from one mistake against Liverpool. He’s convinced both the club and the fans to want him to stick around beyond the end of this season.
From an Arsenal point of view, it’s better to move the goalkeeper on, because he clearly wasn’t happy playing second-fiddle in North London. If he couldn’t get into the team ahead of Petr Cech, he’s unlikely to manage it now that Bernd Leno has joined as well. We’ll see what happens in January.