Luciano Spalletti was officially unveiled as the new head coach as Napoli today, and one of the things he was asked about in his lengthy 70-minute introductory press conference was about his reported interest in his former player, Emerson Palmieri.
Spalletti and Emerson had worked together at AS Roma before the left back’s transfer to Chelsea in 2018, and given his situation at Chelsea and Napoli’s need for reinforcements, those rumors practically wrote themselves.
But they are not without some basis of truth, as Spalletti revealed with a wink and a smile when asked about contacting the 26-year-old.
“This is a question that I cannot answer here, but it is possible that it is something that has happened.”
-Luciano Spalletti; source: TMW via Google Translate
Emerson’s currently still busy with the Italian national team, and is in fact set to start Sunday’s final against England. He had been the backup option for the Azzurri throughout the tournament until Leonardo Spinazzola’s torn Achilles, though he had been heavily involved during qualifying as well — showing that he remains highly rated in Italy, which should bode well for any potential transfer.
Whether Napoli and Chelsea can work something out is far from certain, even if we’ve had plenty of dealings (some good, some bad) in the past. With just a year left on Emerson’s contract, we probably shouldn’t expect too much in terms of a transfer fee, though some reports do claim that we have an option to extend his contract by a year, to 2023, to increase our leverage and protect his transfer value.