Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis took the stage alongside coach Walter Mazzarri in a press conference, shedding light on the exclusion of Piotr Zielinski from the UEFA squad and the challenges faced during the January transfer window.
De Laurentiis addressed the controversial decision to omit Zielinski from the Champions League squad, clarifying that it wasn’t an act of revenge but a strategic move considering the midfielder’s imminent departure to Inter.
“We had to keep into account all the restrictive components for squad lists that are not our fault. At a certain point, we had to leave Zielinski out. We know perfectly well what he is capable of giving to the team, but the fact remains, he will not be our player after July. So we need to focus on the real investment, and that means Hamed Traore, as we must work out whether or not to activate the release clause.”
De Laurentiis emphasized the need to prioritize long-term investments over short-term victories, expressing a desire to learn from past mistakes and unsuccessful endeavors.
“I read some said this was revenge, but absolutely not. I already said, he is a splendid person, a good lad, and a top-level player. However, decisions have been made, so seeing as he will not be with us from July, we must use this time to evaluate possible opportunities.”
While Napoli made significant moves in the January transfer window, bringing in players like Hamed Junior Traore, Leander Dendoncker, Cyril Ngonge, and Pasquale Mazzocchi, the club faced challenges in bolstering their defensive line.
De Laurentiis delved into the failed negotiations for defenders Radu Dragusin and Nehuen Perez, shedding light on the intricacies that led to the breakdown of potential deals.
“We only wanted a defender because Leo Ostigard was on his way out. I was after a Genoa defender, and I’d like to point out Genoa confirmed my offer was superior to all the others, but the player preferred England to Napoli and even Bayern Munich.”
“At that point, we looked towards Mr. Perez, I met with Gino Pozzo, but after three hours I had another meeting, so I said look, let’s just do a deal for €18m all-inclusive. Instead, they said we needed to also pay the club that formed the player, and the agent, and I got fed up and called it off. Meanwhile, Mazzarri had moved to a three-man defense, re-evaluating Ostigard too, and so why buy someone we don’t need? Besides, we also signed a midfielder who can play as a center-back.”