Transfer news

Benitez could spend in January

September 24, 2013
By Ben Gladwell, Italy Correspondent

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis says funds will be available for investment in the squad in January, should coach Rafael Benitez need them.

Rafa Benitez NApoli point
GettyImagesBenitez brought in the likes of star striker Higuain during the summer.

De Laurentiis said over €120 million was available for Benitez to spend following the sale of Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, yet little over half of that was reinvested in Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Callejon, Raul Albiol and Dries Mertens.

Given the start the Azzurri have made to the season with four wins out of four in the league and a 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, the Spanish coach seems to have bought wisely, but De Laurentiis says he will be able to strengthen the squad even further when the transfer market opens again at the turn of the year.

"Napoli's transfer market is open for 12 months of the year," De Laurentiis told Canale 21. "We're also investing in our (training) centre in Castelvolturno with the youth academy, and then there's also the stadium."

One summer target Napoli did not land was Internacional forward Leandro Damiao, although De Laurentiis says he vetoed the move. "We were focusing on Damiao before Higuain, but I called it off because the player is represented by the wrong agent," De Laurentiis said. "I then contacted Real Madrid and in a ten-minute phone call, we reached an agreement for Higuain.

"We then contacted his family and we spent seven hours at the airport before moving into a hotel in Dimaro, and in three days, the solicitors drafted the contracts."

Were the transfer market still open now, Benitez would be on the lookout for a new right-sided defender since Christian Maggio is to undergo surgery on a meniscus injury he picked up during the Dortmund win, according to a statement on his club's website. The Italy international will be sidelined for a month, meaning he will also miss Italy's final World Cup qualifying matches against Denmark and Armenia.

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