Edinson Cavani, one of the world's most wanted players, right? Napoli turned down a £45m bid for him just last summer, right? Arsenal would have to stump up more than that, right?
Er, we reckon the answer to at least two of those questions is no. And the reason for that is the continued erratic behaivour of Napoli chairman De Laurentiis since last summer. During the build-up to the Olympics Cavani had been penciled in as a star of a Uruguay team who would sweep all before them, his own agent even 'bigged up' his performances prior to him getting on the pitch. It didn't work out, he was a poor part of a relatively poor Uruguay team and rather than enhance his reputation it did the opposite.
Just afterwards there was a big storm in Italy about Aurelio De Laurentiis actively trying to sell the player. Whilst publicly making comments about him being priceless, several Italian outlets including SportMediaset said that the chairman had employed an Italian agent to travel to London and try and convince Chelsea to buy the player. The strange situation was forced by the president wanting €35-€40m for him and the player himself being keen on a move to London after he wife was mugged in Naples.
The same rumours continued and then Cavani started talks on a new deal, this was confirmed on the final day of the transfer window, almost as if both parties had given up on the possibility of a transfer. Napoli didn't have to secure him, he still had three years left, but De Laurentiis wanted to give him a public pay rise and be the centre of attention yet again. The announcement of his new deal was theatre in itself, we've taken the following snippet from ESPN:
The new deal was announced at an elaborate press conference at which the Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, a film producer, announced sombrely: "Sometimes, marriages come to an end. Unfortunately, Edi wants to go to England, to the cold city of Manchester. There's a plane ready to take him there."
Cavani replied: "What plane? I am staying at Napoli" before signing the new contract and holding up a shirt with 2017 on the back. He said: "I'm happy here. The club has been good to me, and I wanted to stay."
In our opinion both sides were keen on a move last summer but when it was apparent that wasn't going to happen, a new contract suited both parties and gave an excellent opportunity for some odd PR.
Since then Cavani has had an excellent season and rumours about his future died down until they suddenly reappeared with a couple of bangs, and who would be behind those bangs? Aurelio De Laurentiis of course!
Just days before the winter transfer window opened, the Napoli president volunteered an interview to radio station Monte. Quotes were picked up by Goal who had him saying "Cavani is a warrior who embodies all that's best of the Napoli spirit and our supporters. It is because of this I turned down an offer of €55m."
To be straight, we don't think for one minute that happened. If Napoli had been offered £45m for Edinson Cavani, who turns 26 on Valentine's Day, they'd have gift-wrapped him and put a bow on top. To make comments like that just before a transfer window only served to spread a story around Europe. De Laurentiis may be an extrovert but he certainly isn't stupid and he knows that big public denials of a sale will only serve to make a potential transfer more readable, he gave it legs.
Super-agent Mino Raiola, who doesn't represent the Uruguayan said a day or so later in Gazzetta that De Laurentiis wasn't being genuine and that Cavani would be leaving in June. This raked up an old tussle between the pair after Raiola had told Corriere dello Sport last summer "De Laurentiis says I am a pain in the ass? For me it's a compliment... Cavani, if he could, would go away immediately. But the president is not easy."
Early in December De Laurentiis had been at it again. Tuttosport has a quote from De Laurentiis across their December 5th front page, the Napoli chief said he wanted €95m for the player. It was pure fantasy but got him and Cavani all over the news.
If this all sounds overly dramatic and somewhat staged by the characters involved then there's a good reason for that. Aurelio De Laurentiis is a film producer.
This all brings us closer to reality and what Arsene Wenger said today, quoted by The Guardian "Cavani is a player that I like. Will he cost a lot of money? That's for sure. Nobody would deny that. [But] our banker lives just next to me at the moment and he is ready if we find the right player."
That's led fans to talk of bids of £40m and more for the striker, we think there's a real wish to sell coupled with a genuine desire to leave. If Wenger can convince the player that with him Arsenal will be a force and if they can stump up good enough wages, no doubt blanketed by a signing on fee, then a move isn't so unrealistic and a bid of £30-£35m would not be laughed out of Naples.
De Laurentiis has been producing films for much of his life, the sale of Edinson Cavani is perhaps his most prolonged.
This was penned by Annie Eaves and could be dismissed as the ravings of a mad pregnant woman. You decide. Follow her on Twitter @AnnieEaves