Giuntoli: ‘Napoli signed Osimhen after Haaland’s snub’

Cristiano Giuntoli reveals Napoli signed Victor Osimhen after Erling Haaland had snubbed the Partenopei to join Borussia Dortmund.

Osimhen joined Napoli for a reported €75m fee in September 2020, months after Haaland’s move to Borussia Dortmund.

The Norway international is described by Napoli sporting director Giuntoli as the ‘biggest regret’ he has.

“The contract with Salzburg was done already, we would have paid his €25m clause. He and Osimhen were our priorities and when Haaland opted for Borussia Dortmund, we went for Victor. To us, they were on the same level,” he told Il Corriere Dello Sport.

The Partenopei are the Serie A leaders and the only unbeaten team in Italy. They are enjoying an eight-point lead over second-placed Milan.

They’ve achieved amazing results in Italy and Europe, despite selling some of their best players last summer, including Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne and Fabian Ruiz. What’s the secret of Napoli’s success this term?

“Commitment, competence and the courage of ownership that has proved his worth in the last 18 years,” said Giuntoli.

“COVID forced us to change because the wage bill was no longer sustainable and the situation almost reset the financial resources.

“Despite COVID, De Laurentiis invested in signing Osimhen, but we had to make drastic decisions and open a new cycle.”

Giuntoli has been at the club for almost 10 years and has sometimes had a tense rapport with president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

“I can’t deny that there have been some misunderstandings, but it’s understandable in a rapport that’s been lasting for 10 years,” he admitted.

“Perhaps, he didn’t like my attitude at some point and thought I had some technical choices wrong.

“I consider De Laurentiis a manager with an extraordinary vision. Disagreements quickly disappeared and we started a dialogue, choosing a new path, and creating a familiar rapport.”

Their most brilliant summer signing was arguably Khvicha Kvaratskhelia who joined the Partenopei for just €10m.

“We had opened talks for him when Ancelotti was at the club, but Rubin Kazan’s €30m request stunned us,” revealed Giuntoli.

“The war in Ukraine has changed the situation and with Khvicha at Dinamo Batumi, we made a new attempt.

“Spalletti is involved in the team’s development. He makes his assessments and then decides. There is total syntony, we never make certain decisions alone.”

The Italian tactician has a contract until 2023, but Giuntoli highlighted that Napoli ‘have an option to extend’ for one more season.

The director’s contract, on the other hand, runs out in 2024: “I am in no rush, 20 months are a lot, if we look back, where were we 20 months ago?”

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