Napoli have seemingly dropped David Ospina to the bench to avoid being forced to buy him, with the Arsenal loanee just one appearance away from activating a clause in his contract.
The week before last, Ospina played his third consecutive Serie A match for Napoli, leaving him on 24 appearances for the club this season. As confirmed by multiple sources including the player’s father, Ospina’s loan move will become permanent as soon as he makes his 25th.
Despite keeping a clean sheet in that 24th appearance and clearly being in favour with Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti, the Colombian goalkeeper then dropped to the bench on Sunday as the Serie A side faced Cagliari Calcio. In Ospina’s place, Alex Meret conceded one as his team won the match with a penalty late in injury time.
There are now just three matches remaining until the end of the season. With each game that Ancelotti leaves Ospina out, it becomes more and more likely he’s doing it on purpose, to avoid having to pay the transfer fee to sign him. That’s what Hannover 96 are doing with Takuma Asano, who has been dropped from their squad completely.
It’s different in Hannover’s case though, because they’re facing relegation from the Bundesliga. They can’t afford to buy anyone they don’t absolutely need, whilst Napoli wouldn’t have any trouble shelling out a reported €4m for a goalkeeper they’ve used regularly this season.
We’ll see what happens when Napoli travel to SPAL next Sunday.