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SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination


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NAPOLI APPOINT SHAVIL MENDIS AS MANAGER

Struggling Italian heavyweights SSC Napoli have announced the appointment of Mendis as manager. The club has had a disappointing league season so far, languishing in 11th place after 34 games. Mendis' immediate goals will be to try and salvage a top 7 place, and to lead the team as far as possible in the Europa league knock out stages and the Italian cup

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

NAPOLI CONFIRM TRANSFER DEALS

New manager Shavil Mendis has already made his mark upon the club with a string of transfers. Looking to reinforce certain areas of the squad, Mendis has confirmed the signings of Italian midfielder Alessandro Diamanti from Bologna for a fee of 8 million

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Midfielder Diamanti at his first press conference at Napoli

In addition, Napoli have secured the signing of Brazilian LB Maxwell from PSG, with out of favour stopper Fernandez moving in the other direction.

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Maxwell will be one of the club's best fullbacks

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

NAPOLI SIGN GAMEIRO

Napoli have announced what might be their most important signing so far, with French striker Kevin Gameiro set to join the Italian club. Napoli Manager Mendis voiced his concerns over the lack of striker depth at the club, and was prompted to make a move for the PSG striker, who was seeking a way out of Paris after limited chances behind Ibrahimovic and Lavezzi.

Going the other way will be fringe player Vargas on a permanent deal, as well as Insigne for half a season. Gameiro, meanwhile, will bolster Napoli's attacking department, which boasts the world class Edison Cavani, and experienced striker Goran Pandev

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

NAPOLI CONFIRM BRUNO ALVES SIGNING

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SSC Napoli manager Shavil Mendis has today confirmed the key signing of Portuguese CB Bruno Alves for approximately 14 mill in cash. Alves will be an instrumental part of Napoli's squad, with over 60 International apperances for Portugal, Champions league experience, and numerous league titles with Porto and Zenit. He will face stiff competition from the likes of Campagnaro, Mathijsen, Cannavaro, Gamberini and Douglas for a starting berth, but Mendis is confident that Alves will play a big role for the rest of this season and beyond.

In other news, Napoli drew 2-2 against Braga in Mendis' first game in charge of the side, with Diamanti scoring a brace. However, Napoli, after losing the first leg of the Europa League tie 2-1 has been knocked out on aggregate.

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

NAPOLI CONTINUE TRANSFER BUSINESS

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Sessegnon farewells the Sunderland fans after signing a 4 year deal at Napoli

Napoli have continued to be active in the transfer market, this time confirming the signing of 28 year old Attacking Midfielder and Striker Sebastien Sessegnon, from Sunderland.

The fee is believed to be around 8 million, which manager Shavil Mendis has described "quite a bargain". Sessegnon had become frustrated with the failure of Sunderland to consistently be a top club in England, which prompted his desire for a move abroad.

Sessegnon, despite fierce competition for a starting berth, will provide valuable squad depth to both the attacking midfield, wing and striker departments, and should temporarily solve Napoli's current injury crisis, with more than 7 players out with injuries, lack of fitness or suspension.

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

SRNA, LOMBAERTS AND LAZOVIC SIGNED

Just hours after securing Sessegnon, Napoli have agreed a bizarre 3 part deal with Zenit. Croatian star Srna, Belgium defender Lombaerts and Croatian utility Lazovic will all join Napoli, with Douglas Texeira, Zuniga and Bruno Uvini moving the other way.

Although it was hard to let Zuniga and Douglas move on, Srna and Lombaerts are perhaps better replacements for the squad, while Lazovic will provide much needed depth in the striker and midfield departments.

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Srna at his first press conference at Napoli.

Dario Srna, upon arriving at Napoli, said "The chance to play in one of the most competitive leagues in the world for such a promising club like Napoli was too good to turn down.". Manager Shavil Mendis, acknowledged that Srna would find it tough to make the starting line up straight away but said : "Srna is a very experienced player who has had great success in the past, and will add an extra dimension to the team".

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Napoli hope Lombaerts can resume his successful partnership with Bruno Alves

Reports circulated that one of the main reasons Lombaerts chose to move to Napoli was the prospect of once again teaming up with his former teammate Bruno Alves, who joined Napoli earlier this week. Alves and Lombaerts formed a highly successful partnership for Zenit previously, and Mendis hopes that Alves will help the younger Lombaerts to settle down and establish himself at Napoli.

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New signing Lazovic will be hoping to reshow the form that made him one of the best players in Russia a year ago.

Finally, Danko Lazovic has moved to Napoli in a hope to revive his career. After originally being highly successful at Zenit, Lazovic fell out of favour with the club and has barely played this season. Fortunately, Mendis recognised Lazovic's potential which he showed earlier on and granted him a chance to prove himself in Italy.

Meanwhile, rumours are circulating around Napoli that the club are close to agreeing terms for CSKA Moskva star striker Seydou Doumbia. However, reports of a completed deal are yet to be confirmed by either club.

Napoli have also received several enquiries for star duo Edinson Cavani and Marek Hamsik. While both players are happy at the club, Napoli manager Mendis has admitted that while the club was doing everything they could to hold onto the duo, it would be hard for such players like Hamsik and Cavani to turn down playing for the biggest clubs in Europe, should a good enough offer for either of them come.

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

DOUMBIA SET TO ARRIVE

SSC Napoli have today confirmed that negotiations for Ivory Coast powerhouse Seydou Doumbia have been successful, along with personal terms. Upon completion of the medical, Doumbia penned a 4 season deal at the club.

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Napoli will be hoping that Doumbia continues to bang in the goals

This is exciting news for Napoli as the 25 year old striker will be a useful addition to their front line, already containing the likes of Cavani, Gameiro and Pandev. Doumbia has since expressed his excitement at competing the Serie A and the prospect of playing alongside Napoli demi-god Edinson Cavani, who this week committed his future to the club, despite numerous enquiries from other clubs in Italy and abroad.

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Diamanti was particularly wasteful in yesterday's loss to Siena

In other news, a largely second string Napoli XI slumped to a 1-0 away defeat to AC Siena. Injuries, suspensions and lack of fitness saw most of Napoli's best players left behind in Naples. Bruno Alves had a solid debut in central defence, and was unlucky not to come away with a clean sheet, but most concerning for the manager was the wastefulness of new signings Diamanti and Gameiro in front of goal, with both players having several chances to get on the score sheet.

Mendis has since confirmed that Napoli would now concentrate on winning the Italian Cup, with a tough semi-final against rivals SS Lazio. With a top 7 position in the league out of the question now, Napoli will have to be victorious in the Cup if they want European football next season. Before the cup clash is a league encounter with Torino, with Mendis expecting to play out a reserve team to have all the key players fresh for the semi final clash.

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

SSC NAPOLI: THE SQUAD Part 1

After a few days of intense transfer dealings and negotiating, it's finally time to settle down and analyse the squad and work out the starting XI, which areas need improving and who should be shipped out.

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Veteran De Sanctis is the undisputed no.1 for now

Goalkeepers

1. Morgan De Sanctis 35(years), 90(rating)

2. Antonio Rosati: 29, 86

De Sanctis is the undisputed first choice between the sticks, with his experience and high rating key to the side. However, his age is slightly concerning for manager Shavil Mendis, and with Rosati not considered a suitable future first choice, a younger keeper with potential will soon be brought in.

Defence

1. Bruno Alves: 31, 91, (CB)

2. Darijo Srna: 31, 91, (RB/RM)

3. Hugo Campagnaro: 32, 90 (CB/RB)

4. Joris Mathijsen: 32, 90 (CB)

5. Paolo Cannavaro©: 31, 89 (CB)

6. Alessandro Gamberini: 31, 89 (CB)

7. Nicolas Lombaerts: 27, 89 (LB/CB)

8. Stephan Lichtsteiner: 28, 90 (RB/RM)

9. Scherrer Maxwell: 31, 89 (LB/LM)

With Napoli preferring a 3 man backline of late, it's clear that defensive options are not limited, with each of the above players contending for a starting berth. Heading out of the club in the future could be Joris Mathijsen, who despite being a 90, has failed to really impress the manager so far, and could therefore make way for a younger option. Versatility is also a key asset, and the likes of Lichtsteiner, Maxwell and Srna 's ability to play in midfield make them valuable squad players. Meanwhile, Mendis has retained Paolo Cannavaro as squad captain, despite uncertainty whether he will start or not.

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Expected starting backline: SRNA, ALVES, CAMPAGNARO

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

SSC NAPOLI: THE SQUAD, Part Two

Midfield

1. Marek Hamsik(VC): 25(years), 92(rating), (AM/CM)

2. Gokhan Inler: 28, 91: (CM/DM)

3. Christian Maggio: 30, 90: (RM/RB)

4. Alessandro Diamanta: 29, 89: (CAM/LW/RW)

5. Walter Gargano: 28, 89 (CM/DM)

6. Sejhad Salihovic: 28 89 (AM/CM/LM)

7. Blerim Dzemaili: 26, 89 (CM/DM/AM)

8. Valon Behrami 27, 89 (DM/CM/RM)

9. Xabi Prieto: 29, 89: (RW/CAM)

10. Luca Cigarini: 26, 88 (CM/DM/AM)

11. Mario Santana: 31, 88 (RW/LW/CAM)

12. Gabriel Mesto: 30, 88 (RM/RB)

13. Andrea Dossena: 31, 88 (LM/LB)

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Expected starting midfield: Maggio, Hamsik, Inler, Pandev, Diamanti

Overall, the squad has plenty of midfield depth, with fierce competition in each position. Hamsik, the newly appointed Vice Captain, is the key man in the midfield, and will shoulder most creative duties. Inler is a certainty to start at either CM or DM, and could be partnered by the imposing Gargano, or the more creative Dzemaili, Behrami or Salihovic. Italy international Maggio is expected to earn a starting berth at RM, while Diamanti could start on the Left.

Forwards

1. Edinson Cavani: 25, 93 (FWD)

2. Goran Pandev: 29, 90 (FWD/CAM)

3. Kevin Gameiro: 25, 90 (FWD)

4. Seydou Doumbia: 25, 90 (FWD)

5. Sebastien Sessegnon: 28, 89 (FWD/CAM/LW/RW)

6. Danko Lazovic: 29, 88 (FWD/CAM/LW/RW)

Napoli's forward line will be led by the talismanic striker Edinson Cavani, who will be key to Napoli's hopes of Italian Cup success this season. The striker has been hugely successful at the cub, and recently committed his future to the club. He is ably supported by Goran Pandev, who can also play in midfield, French forward Gameiro, and newest signing Doumbia. Other options in the squad are the versatile Sessegnon and Lazovic, both of who can play in midfield.

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Cavani and Doumbia are expected to lead the line

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

MAVUBA SIGNED

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French star Rio Mavuba was unveiled earlier today at a press conference.

Napoli today confirmed that French star Rio Mavuba would join the Napoli squad on a 4 year contract. Going the other way are Walter Gargano and Cigarini.

Napoli manager Mendis has spoken of his delight in securing the singing of Mavuba, who previously was the club captain at Lille, and believes that Mavuba will bring a lot of experience and star power to the club. Mavuba is expected to form a strong midfield duo with Swiss star Gokhan Inler, and this partnership could be the key to Napoli winning the Italian cup this season.

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

RUSSIAN STAR CONFIRMS NAPOLI MOVE

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Russian star Dzagoev confirms Napoli move

22 year old Russian star midfielder Alan Dzagoev has confirmed he will be moving to Napoli on a 5 season deal. Dzagoev, who after a rift with the CSKA Moskova management, demanded a move abroad, and agreed terms with Napoli once the two clubs had agreed to a fee, with the deal, valued at more than 20 million in part exchange and cash.

Dzagoev's signing shows Napoli manager Mendis' intent to build a squad capable of success in Italy. The 22 year old is an excellent coup for the club, both now and for the future. Dzagoev is expected to gain a starting berth either on the Left wing, or as an Attacking midfielder, meaning out of form Goran Pandev will mostly likely drop to the bench in favour of a new midfield of Mavuba, Inler, Hamsik, Dzagoev and Maggio.

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

LATEST NEWS AT NAPOLI

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Motta will officially become a Napoli player

Just hours before tonight's kickoff against Torino, Napoli have confirmed the signing of Italian international Thiago Motta from PSG. The midfielder will officially be presented to the fans at tonight's game. The move sees Bosnian international Salihovic moving the other way.

Motta had previously declared his desire to leave the French giants in order to return to Italy to continue his playing career, and shortly after, Napoli opened negotiatons for him, ultimately securing the player for a moderate fee. Motta is expected to compete with new signing Mavuba for a DM spot partnering Gokhan Inler.

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Napoli will be parting ways with Mathijsen at the conclusion of the season

In other transfer news, Napoli management have confirmed veteran Dutch defender Joris Mathijsen will be leaving the club at the conclusion of the season, which ends in approximately 2 weeks. The 32 year old CB will be seeking a fresh challenge away outside Italy after deciding against signing a new contract at Napoli.

Club manager Mendis said "We have spoken to Joris, and he understands that from next season, he won't be a big feature of our plans as we look to continue building the team by hopefully bringing in a couple promising young defenders. On behalf of the club, I'd like to thank him for his exceptional commitment and leadership this season, and we hope that he can continue at a high level of play this season and wish him all the best at his future club."

Meanwhile, Napoli are preparing to face Torino in Serie A round 36. With a top 7 finish almost impossible, Napoli are expected to send out a second string team, in order to rest their best players for the Italian Cup Semifinal showdown vs Lazio in two nights time.

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

LATEST NEWS AT NAPOLI\

Serie A, matchday 36:NAPOLI 5-2 TORINO

A second string Napoli side gave manager Shavil Mendis his first win at the club with a surprise 5-2 thrashing of Torino. With Mendis playing a gamble benching nearly all of the probably first XI, with the Lazio cup match in mind, a win was considered unlikely, let alone a 3 goal win. Napoli went behind twice in the first 25 minutes of the match, but both times, an inspirational performance from Sessegnon, one of many debutants, saw him score first half brace to keep Napoli level at half time, with the backline of Cannavaro, Gamberini and Lombaerts looking shaky, and De Sanctis having a poor match.

The second half brought about a sudden change to Napoli's play, with domination of possession and the defence tightening up. Napoli managed to score 3 times in the final 30 minutes, courtesy of Diamanti, Dzemaili, and substitute Maxwell to hand Napoli a well deserved win.

Man of the match was clearly Sessegnon, with Diamanit also impressing with a goal and an assist. The defence, while shaky in the first half, was much improved in the second, though De Sanctis in particular had a forgettable game. The squad will now begin preparations for the cup semifinal vs Lazio in 2 days time.

NAPOLI SIGN PAYET

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The latest Ligue 1 star to move to Napoli: Dimitri Payet

Napoli today confirmed the signing of Lille wing wizard Dimitri Payet on a 5 year deal, for a deal worth over 14 million in value. Payet has impressed Napoli manager Mendis with his superb performances for Lille this season, and was thus subjected to a transfer bid from Napoli, which was accepted by the Lille management. Payet joins a now star studded midfield, and will compete for a starting berth with the likes of Maggio and Dzagoev on the wing.

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

NAPOLI PROGRESS TO CUP FINAL

Italian cup Semi final: NAPOLI 3-2 LAZIO

Napoli recorded its second straight win under Mendis' tenure with a hard fought 3-2 victory over fierce rivals Lazio, to progress to the final of the "Coppa Italia".

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Stand in Captain Hamsik was the star of the show, bagging a brace.

Manager Shavil Mendis had a full 28 man squad to choose from for the first time this season, and went for the strongest starting lineup, with De Sanctis in goals, a 3 man defence of Srna, Bruno Alves and Campagnaro, a midfield 5 of Inler, Mavuba, Maggio, Hamsik and Dzagoev, and Cavani and Pandev leading the line up front. Hamsik was handed the captain's armband after first choice captain Cannavaro was relegated to the bench.

Napoli dominated early proceedings and were rewarded with an early goal to Hamsik,assisted by Inler. They soon proceeded to stretch their lead to 2 goals 10 mins later thanks to a Maggio goal assisted by Cavani. However, Lazio pullled a goal back through Ledesma, before Alvaro Gonzalez levelled the scores in the 54th min. Luckily, Napoli responded in style just 3 minutes later, with star duo Cavani and Hamsik combining for the Slovakian's second goal of the match. Substitutes Lichtsteiner, Motta and Doumbia were brought on shortly after, and helped secure the win for Napoli, despite a late red card for Gokhan Inler. Maggio and Hamsik were the most impressive players, with Hamsik voted MOTM.

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Key player Campagnaro is out for the season

Overall, a great game for the Naples outfit, who now face 2nd tier Lecce in the final. However, the club have received disappointing news confirming key defender Hugo Campagnaro will be ruled out for the rest of the season through injury.

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Re: SSC NAPOLI: GC 226: Quest for Italian domination

NAPOLI CLAIM CUP TITLE

NAPOLI 5 - 0 LECCE

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Club Captain holds the Cup trophy aloft amid scenes of jubilation for Napoli

Napoli turned in their finest performance under Mendis' management, to thrash Lecce in the final of the Coppa Italia 5-0.

Mendis had nearly a full squad at his disposal, with the exception of Campagnaro, ruled out with injury. De Sanctis started in goal, Cannavaro returned to the XI as captain alongside Srna and Alves, the midfield making up of Inler, Mavuba, Dzagoev, Hamsik and Maggio, and Cavani alongside with Pandev leading the front line.

Napoli went up a goal in the 15th minute, thanks to a Pandev strike, assisted by a well placed Maggio cross. The Naples outfit continued to dominate their opposition, and after Maggio was fouled 30 yards out, Hamsik stepped up to curl it into the top corner. After the break, Napoli continued their sublime form, as Hamsik hit two quick goals to bring up his hattrick. Substitute Doumbia added a late 5th goal to complete the rout. Man of the Match was Hamsik for his sublime treble.

Napoli's win rescues what was otherwise a poor season for the Naples outfit, and can look forward to the Italian Supercup and European football next season.

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Shirokov at his first press conference for Napoli

In other news, Napoli have confirmed the signing of Russian star Roman Shirokov on a 3 year deal, for a fee believed to be 9 million. Shirokov, former Zenit captain, will add experience and versatility to the midfield, being able to play Defensive Mid, Central Playmaker, Box to Box and Attacking midfielder. He is expected to debut in Napoli's final official match of the season, a Serie A clash with Roma.

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