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Transfer Talk: Napoli desperate to cling on to Kvaradona
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Matthew Hill
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is wanted by the likes of Real Madrid and Liverpool
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is wanted by the likes of Real Madrid and Liverpool

After one of the most impressive breakout campaigns, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is hot property.

Napoli's Georgian winger terrorised defenders during his first season in Italy, inspiring the Partenopei to a first Serie A title in 33 years.

At just 22, the man dubbed Kvaradona — a nod to the late Napoli legend Diego Maradona — is high on the wish lists of several European giants.

Yet with Napoli still hopeful of tying him down to a new deal, we assess what his future holds.

Star quality

With 14 goals and 14 assists across 43 Serie A and Champions League appearances last term, Kvaratskhelia has already established himself as one of the continent's most productive attackers.

That rapid rise is particularly impressive given he had only played in Russia and his native Georgia when Napoli forked out under £10million for his services last summer.

The Tbilisi-born speedster's underlying numbers shows he brings plenty more to the party, too.

No Serie A player attempted (182) or completed (74) more take-ons last term, while he ranked inside the division's top six for both completed passes (432) and regains of possession (38) in the final third.

Departing Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti said of him last month: "You can see when he does have the ball, everyone doubles up and fears him, so that opens up spaces for the others. 

"He can also squeeze through any gap with his skill because he is a stratospheric player."

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia enjoyed an outstanding first campaign with Napoli
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia enjoyed an outstanding first campaign with Napoli

Madrid interest

If any club is to lure Kvaratskhelia away from Naples this summer, it may well be Real Madrid.

The No77 has confessed a childhood love for Los Blancos in previous interviews — something which was reaffirmed by his father Badri last week.

Speaking to press in Italy, he said: "His dreams, those ultimate aims, are to win the Champions League, play for Real Madrid and reach the big international tournaments with Georgia."

The Spanish giants are certainly looking to revamp their attack, too.

A deal for long-term primary target Kylian Mbappe still remains a pipe dream, while the recent surprise exit of Karim Benzema has opened another attacking void.

Red alert

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia ran riot against Liverpool in this season's Champions League
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia ran riot against Liverpool in this season's Champions League

Liverpool are another side closely monitoring Napoli's maestro.

The Reds have just endured an unusually disappointing campaign under Jurgen Klopp, failing to lift any silverware while also missing out on Champions League qualification.

Sadio Mane's departure last summer unquestionably weakened the Merseysiders from an attacking perspective and Klopp will surely be keen to address that issue before the 2023-24 campaign kicks off.

Reports in April claimed Liverpool would be willing to meet Kvaratskhelia's release clause, thought to be around the £100m mark.

Klopp also lavished praise on the 22-year-old last November, saying: "He has speed, he is cheeky, he goes inside, he can go outside. That makes it always really difficult facing him."

One more season

Napoli will be quietly confident of keeping their star man for at least one more season, however.

Asked about a summer switch last week, and whether Partenopei fans could be optimistic about him sticking around, Kvaratskhelia said: "Of course they can be confident. I love Napoli."

Reports in Italy suggest Serie A's Player of the Season has been offered a new contract that would see his basic salary double from roughly £35,000 to £67k per week.

All signs are that he will put pen to paper on that deal, though that does not mean a move is off the cards entirely.

Signing a long-term contract drives Kvaratskhelia's value up to an astronomical level — but there is no doubt that one of Europe's elite will pay it should his dazzling performances continue.


SSC NapoliKhvicha KvaratskheliaSerie AReal MadridLiverpoolPremier LeagueLaLiga
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