Rafa Benitez and Napoli are set to give up on signing either Tottenham’s Sandro or Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva, having chased the pair all summer, reports talkSPORT. The Serie A side have been searching for a holding midfielder since the end of last season, and could now turn their attentions to Espanyol’s David Lopez.
Lopez represents a much more affordable alternative to Benitez’ Premier League targets, and he should issue more manageable wage demands as well. It is expected that a bid of around £4 million should be enough to prise the La Liga man to Italy, which is a figure that would not have captured the club’s primary targets.
Both Sandro and Lucas look to be facing a season on the peripheral of their respective clubs, but neither is prepared to take a wage cut in order to pursue a career at Napoli. Benitez is interested in both players following his time managing in England, particularly in Lucas who played beneath him at Liverpool. There had been suggestions that a loan deal could be ironed out for one of the targets, but wage bills proved a problem again.
In Lopez, however, Napoli may have identified a more suitable player for their needs. He is 24 years old, and he played 33 La Liga matches last season. Though he managed to score just twice, Benitez is more interested in his strength and aggression in the middle of the pitch. Lopez picked up 9 yellow cards last season, showing that he is not one to duck out of a challenge, and has garnered a reputation as one of the most intimidating midfielders in the Spanish league.