Baby steps: Napoli set to sign Edinson Cavani replacement

Fireworks. - Giuseppe Bellini

It's been a banner day for Aurelio De Laurentiis, Napoli owner and all-around LAD. The man who equates storming off on a moped to dropping the mic not only got to introduce his club's new manager amid much pomp and circumstance ("Rafa-Day"), but managed to further confuse the Cavani situation, sign a new a player, and talk about Cameron Diaz, Halle Berry, Meryl Streep, and Lindsey Lohan. All in a day's work.

It's not often that a club chairman will overshadow a new manager's press conference, but by all accounts, ADL did just that. Not that anybody expected anything less.

As we reported earlier, De Laurentiis rubbished the Manchester City angle of the whole Cavani transfer saga, saying that the Sky Blues are unwilling to pay the buyout. When asked about Chelsea's interest, he then claimed that we hadn't even contacted him, which ... well.

And then, like any proper businessman would, he hummed a tune:

The new anthem of Chelsea is Marina Marina. Remember Marina Granovskaia? Exactly. But maybe it's just coincidence and he really likes that amazingly bad song.

Taunts at English Premier League sides and delusions of grandeur (satellite clubs in London, NYC, Tijuana, Rio anyone?) aside, there is some actual news out of Naples:

While Mertens - who usually played on the left side of an attacking trident at PSV - could never be a direct replacement for Edinson Cavani on account of not being named Radamel Falcao or Robert Lewandowski, his arrival represents a significant addition to Napoli's attacking corps. It's easy to envision Mertens working quite well with Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne, even without a spearhead of Uruguayan magnificence ahead of them.

The rumored transfer fee for the Belgian international and hater of Gary Cahill's nose is somewhere between €10-15m, which Napoli should be able to afford even without having to sell their talisman striker. However, up to this point, this transfer was always framed in the context of a replacement for rather than as an addition to Cavani. And with the mounting negative public response in Naples, this could very well prove a welcome step forward in Chelsea's quest for Edinson's signature.

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