Luciano Spalletti insists there is ‘nothing concrete at the moment’ between Napoli, Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo, but does explain it ‘wouldn’t be a swap with Victor Osimhen’ if it did happen.
The Partenopei visit Fiorentina on Sunday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT) and are trying to protect their 100 per cent start to the season.
Osimhen found the net in both their Serie A games so far, yet he is being linked with a shock €100m move to Manchester United, who would loan Ronaldo to Napoli and pay most of the Portuguese striker’s salary.
Speaking at a press conference, coach Spalletti did not ignore the elephant in the room.
“If you’re asking me if I’d like to work with Ronaldo, I tell you no coach would say no to that. However, if we go into those areas the journalists like to fill in for themselves, then as Osimhen’s agent said, there are no negotiations.
“Speaking to (President Aurelio) De Laurentiis, he told me that he received no offer, so let’s remain as realistic as possible here and take into consideration only things that could happen.
“There are only a few days left in the transfer window, it seems unlikely that could go through. There is nothing concrete at the moment.”
Nonetheless, Spalletti was more than happy to discuss the ramifications of such an exchange between Ronaldo and Nigeria international Osimhen.
“It wouldn’t be a swap, it would be two different signings, in that case. One of the two can turn a game by himself. But in any case, at the moment we should not consider things that won’t help us pick up three points in Florence.
“Osimhen is the one who has to be the protagonist there. With a player like Osimhen, who is so talented, we know there is the permanent risk that some rich owner around the world will wake up in the morning and decide to buy him and that includes a club like Manchester United.”
Spalletti is from Florence and has never disguised he went to the Stadio Franchi as a child to watch Fiorentina from the stands.
“I was there with my friends, waving my flag. Fiorentina caused us problems in all three games we played against them last season in Serie A and the Coppa Italia. It is fundamental we take control of the spaces that they create with their attacking style.”
Diego Demme is out injured, while Fabian Ruiz is again left in the stands pending a transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.