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Reports: Hirving Lozano set for Napoli medical

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According to reports from both Italy and the Netherlands, PSV Eindhoven attacker Hirving “Chucky” Lozano is nearing a long-awaited move to Napoli and could complete the move as soon as the middle of next week.

Both Dutch publication Votebal International and Italian outlet Tuttomercadoweb are reporting that Lozano’s entourage just has the final details of a $47 million move to iron out. A medical could be conducted as soon as next Monday or Tuesday, with only his image rights and “administrative issues” with his former club Pachuca now standing in the way of the move.

VI reports Lozano will sign a five-year deal keeping him tied to Napoli through the summer of 2024. The transaction would be a record for both sides, breaking Napoli’s transfer record of $44 million for Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid in 2013 and also smashing PSV’s record sale of Memphis Depay to Manchester United for $38 million.

Napoli has been the frontrunner for Lozano’s signature all summer, with the Italian side looking to move for the 23-year-old Mexican international. He has recovered from a knee injury suffered late last season that kept him out of international action over the summer, back in action for PSV in the early going as the club capitulated to FC Basel in Champions League qualifying. He has yet to record a goal or assist in five appearances across all competitions this young season, yet to complete a full 90 minutes as well.

The Mexican was spectacular last season, bagging 21 goals and 12 assists across all competitions, with 17 and 11 coming in Eredivisie play plus another two and one in Champions League action. He continued that form in international competition, scoring a goal and assist in World Cup play last summer and looking unplayable at times in the world’s most prominent competition.

Report: Mexico’s Lozano to Napoli for $56 million

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Less than 24 hours after crashing out of the UEFA Champions League with PSV Eindhoven, Mexico’s Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano could be set for a huge transfer.

Lozano, 24, has been in stunning form for the Dutch giants since he arrived in the Eredivisie in 2017 from Pachuca but after PSV lost on away goals to FC Basel in the UCL second qualifying round on Tuesday, they may be keen to cash in on their prize asset.

Gianluca Di Marzio claims that Napoli have revived their interest in Lozano and it is believed they will offer $56 million for the speedy winger. The report states that Napoli have been in touch with Lozano’s agent, Mino Raiola, about the deal being done.

At the start of the summer Napoli made Lozano one of their top targets but have since focused on signing Nicolas Pepe. With Pepe now close to a move to Arsenal and PSV’s Champions League dream over, Napoli have set their sights on signing Lozano.

Napoli seems like a great fit for Lozano.

He has scored 40 goals in 74 appearances for PSV over the last two seasons and he is ready for the step up to one of Europe’s top five leagues.

The Mexican winger, who scored at the 2018 World Cup in El Tri’s win over Germany, has been linked with a move to both Manchester clubs in the past but a switch to Serie A could be the perfect place for him to rip apart opposition defenses.

His blistering speed and sublime dribbling skills set him apart and Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti loves to attack, sometimes too much. Pairing the pace of Lozano with the trickery and creativity of Dries Mertens, plus the clinical finishing of Lorenzo Insigne and Arkadiusz Milik would work well, on paper.

Lozano deserves to be playing in the Champions League next season and has done all he can at PSV, winning the Dutch title in 2018 and pushing them back to being serious title contenders.

Now is the perfect time for him to move on and like Christian Pulisic with the USMNT, the jewel in the crown of Mexico’s national team is ready to become a global superstar.

Report: Nicolas Pepe agrees to Arsenal move

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Nicolas Pepe is set to become an Arsenal player this week in a club-record transfer.

The Ivory Coast international, 24, has returned from his break following the Africa Cup of Nations and Lille are said to have agreed $87 million deals with both Arsenal and Napoli to sell him this summer.

Pepe is also said to be attracting a late bid from Paris Saint-Germain, but Sky Sports say that Pepe has decided he will move to Arsenal. The report adds that he will undergo a medical in London in the coming days.

What’s that? Oh yes, we thought Arsenal didn’t have any money to spend this summer. Apparently they do.

The $87 million deal for Pepe will be paid in several instalments by Arsenal in order to fit into their financial plans, with Unai Emery‘s side winning the race for his signature.

Pepe scored 22 goals in Ligue 1 last season as Lille finished second behind PSG, and only Kylian Mbappe was involved in more goals as the tricky winger (who can also play as a center forward) added 11 assists in the league.

But do Arsenal really need another attacking player? It would appear the one area of their squad which is well-stocked with options, but when a player of Pepe’s ability, and potential, becomes available then you have to snap him up.

The Gunners never got close to the $100 million valuation Crystal Palace wanted for Wilfried Zaha, but it is clear that Emery wants a speedy winger to link up with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in attack. What this means for the futures of Alex Iwobi, Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan remains to be seen, but Pepe’s arrival is a major coup as Manchester United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich were all linked with signing Pepe.

If the signing of Dani Ceballos on a season-long from Real Madrid excited Arsenal’s fans, this deal for Pepe will knock their socks off. In addition, signing highly-rated teenage center back William Saliba from Saint-Etienne for $33 million then loaning him back for this season is another positive move. That last transfer doesn’t help Arsenal where they need help most (defense) this season, and that is still the concern regarding their chances of finishing in the top four.

They conceded 51 PL goals last season, the third most of teams who finished in the top 10, and they’ve also seen club captain Laurent Koscielny refuse to go on their U.S. tour during preseason as he wants a move away from the club. However, Rob Holding‘s return from injury is a big boost and Hector Bellerin is also set to come back soon after a lengthy spell out.

Emery has to deliver a top four finish this season and now that he’s had an entire campaign to bed in his ideas, he must deliver a return to the Champions League for the Gunners. Pepe will help that push in a big way, but Arsenal must get better defensively if they’re going to be a success under Emery.

Napoli, loading up to dethrone Juve, sign defensive rock Manolas

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Napoli have seen enough of Juventus waltzing their way to Serie A title after Serie A title — eight straight of them, to be specific — and Carlo Ancelotti’s side appear hellbent on doing everything in their power to end their nearly decade-long reign.

[ MORE: Saturday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

On Saturday, Napoli, who have finished second behind Juve three of the last four seasons, announced their $41-million signing of Roma defender Kostas Manolas, one of the Italian league’s most consistent performers the last few seasons. Not only is Napoli’s squad strengthened by the addition, but Roma’s squad is weakened by the subtraction.

Manolas, 28, made more than 200 appearances in five seasons at Roma.

Following the arrival of James Rodriguez last month, Napoli clearly believe they can close the gap, which finished at 11 points last season, on Juve and make a legitimate title challenge.

[ MORE: Matthijs de Ligt left off Ajax roster for start of preseason ]

The only problem is: while Napoli have made a large signal of intent by signing Manolas, Juve appear set to make a gigantic move for Matthijs de Ligt, one of the highest rated prospects to play the same position in quite some time.

It’ll be an uphill battle, as always, but Napoli aren’t shying away from the challenge.

Report: James Rodriguez close to Napoli move

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According to a report by Spanish publication AS, James Rodriguez is nearing a move to Napoli on a permanent transfer from Real Madrid.

The report says that with Colombia now out of the Copa America after falling to Chile in the quarterfinals, the move can progress to completion. AS reports that Rodriguez has agreed to a contract with the Serie A side in a deal worth $7.4 million per year, and now the two clubs will negotiate on a transfer structure.

Despite James not being in Zidane’s squad plans, Real Madrid wants $57 million for his services, according to the AS report. Napoli is instead proposing a loan-to-buy deal to allow them to procure the funds and pay out later. That may not be ideal for Real Madrid who is looking to spend enormous sums of money this summer to overhaul the squad after a disappointing season and could want the income soon to balance the books. Still, it might be the best deal Real Madrid gets for the Colombian, with Napoli offering around $11 million in a loan fee for this season followed by $46 million next summer to seal the permanent transfer.

At Napoli, Rodriguez would link up with Carlo Ancelotti for the third time in his career after playing for the Italian at both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich previously. James returned to Madrid after a two-year loan at Bayern did not result in a permanent purchase, but Madrid was never going to keep him at the Bernabeu.

James played just 20 times in Bundesliga action last season, scoring seven goals while hampered by knee and calf problems. He was a regular for Colombia at the Copa America this summer, failing to find the back but assisting a pair.