Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis declared he will never again sign an African player ‘unless they sign an agreement backing out of the Africa Cup of Nations’ and claims he rejected a $900m offer to sell the club.
This will not come as good news for players like Victor Osimhen and Andre Zambo Anguissa, who represent Nigeria and Cameroon respectively, while Kalidou Koulibaly won the AFCON tournament with Senegal before leaving for Chelsea.
“I told them lads, don’t talk to me about Africans anymore!” said De Laurentiis during a streamed event.
“I love them, but either they sign something confirming they’ll back out of playing the Africa Cup of Nations, or otherwise between that tournament, the World Cup qualifiers in South America, these players are never available!
“We are the idiots who pay salaries only to send them all over the world playing for others.”
De Laurentiis also revealed he had received an offer in 2017-18 from American investors ready to pay $900m to buy Napoli, but he turned it down.
“In recent years these investment funds have become fashionable, they have to guarantee their investors a certain revenue within five years.
“I am assailed by funds, I can’t take it anymore. In 2017-18, an American fund offered me $900m to sell Napoli. But they don’t realise I am this pure entrepreneur who enjoys playing the game, so let me keep playing.”