SEASON PREVIEWS

2022/23 Season Preview: Napoli

Is this the year Napoli stops being the bridesmaid to become the bride by winning the 2022/23 Scudetto?

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Having come close multiple times to winning the Scudetto in previous seasons, Napoli will try again in 2022/23 but this time without the core of their golden generation of players.

Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne, Fauozi Ghoulam and Dries Mertens all left the club recently, signalling the start of a new era spearheaded by club-record signing Victor Osimhen

Last season was another of those that left Napoli fans wondering what could have been as the club put up another Scudetto challenge but just as in previous times, they lost steam towards the end of the season.

All things considered, it was still a good season for Napoli though, finishing third in the league, seven points adrift of the summit isn't bad, especially with the squad they had.

The Partenopei would also be more than glad to return to the UEFA Champions League after a two-year hiatus from the gathering of the continental elites.

As earlier stated, the last of Napoli's golden generation have departed the club signalling the start of a new era at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

However, that fact inspires fear and uncertainty rather than confidence and optimism as the club has not done enough to replace the quality they lost.

A quiet transfer window for Napoli has been dominated by their vocal club president Aurelio De Laurentis whose comments about not signing African players has overshadowed the fact that they have not made any impressive signings (from any continent) thus far.

Kalidou Koulibaly leads the big-name exodus as he joined Chelsea for €38 million, Arkadiusz Milik joined Marseille for €8 million, Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, David Ospina, Faouzi Ghoulam and Kevin Malcuit all left as free agents following the expiration of their contracts.

In their stead arrives South Korean central defender Kim Min-Jae who joined for €18 million from Fenerbahce, another central defender in Leo Ostigard for €5 million from Brighton and Spanish left-back Mathias Olivera for €11 million from Getafe to complete the defensive reinforcements.

Napoli also paid €15 million to make Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa's loan deal from Fulham permanent after the Cameroon International impressed last season, as well as a €10 million transfer to sign highly-rated Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia from Dinamo Batumi.

Napoli's squad has been significantly weakened by players leaving or growing old and it appears they will be banking on youth this season as they are still yet to sign an established name.

To make matters worse, the rest of the Italian contenders have all significantly strengthened which will be a source of constant worry for head coach Luciano Spalletti.

As things stand, it is difficult to see how Napoli can even make the Serie A top four in 2022/23 let alone challenge seriously for the Scudetto.

On the strength of their transfer window so far or the lack of it, Napoli would have done well to be in the top four after the next 38 rounds of Serie A matches.

Along with a top-four finish, the club must try to give a good account of themselves in the UEFA Champions League, at least making it to the knockout rounds and making a deep run in the Italian cup.

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