When a player’s agent begins to open his mouth, you know something is about to happen. Lorenzo Insigne is enjoying an excellent campaign for Napoli, but now the pressure is on for the Serie A side to tie up his future.
Already contracted until 2019, talks over a new deal have been stalling since February and now, after contributing 12 goals and seven assists, his agent, Ciro Venerato, is ramping up the heat.
“Insigne is tired of waiting,” Venerato told Italian TV station Rai.
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“He has four clubs that have offered €4.5m (£3.9m) and a sponsorship deal from a multinational company that would pay €2.5m (£2.1m).”
“He’s willing to take less to just to stay with Napoli but wants €4m (£3.4m) per season. Napoli offered €3.5m (£3m) and no more, inclusive of commission to agents who will take about 5%.”
His agent mentioned possible interest from Juventus, Milan and Atletico Madrid, but as they try to rebuild in the summer, he is exactly the sort of player that could be of huge interest to Arsenal.
Where would Lorenzo Insigne play for Arsenal?
Maurizio Sarri has made a success playing 4-3-3 this season and the 25-year-old has played exclusively on the left-wing, a position that has been a problem area for Arsène Wenger, with the French coach using no less than six players in that position.
Some would argue that Arsenal would be a better unit with Alexis Sanchez out wide left and Olivier Giroud through the centre. He tried that on Saturday against West Bromwich Albion, but with Danny Welbeck as the centre-forward, and the results were not great.
Playing Alexis through the centre requires movement and intelligence from the players around him and that is something that Napoli have built their success on this season.
The transition of, Manchester United summer target, Dries Mertens from winger to centre-forward has helped the club, but that understanding with Insigne has given them more dynamism in the final third.
Although he is right-footed, he has scored some stunning hits with his left and can shoot or pick a pass with his ‘weaker’ foot.
When Mertens drops deep as a False 9, it’s Insigne that makes the runs in behind. He’s very good at breaking between the lines, turning defenders in the wrong direction and putting them on their heels.
Cutting inside on to his stronger foot, there is a resemblance of Chelsea’s Eden Hazard at his best. Jinking in to trouble full-backs, they can’t match his changes of direction.
Plays like Eden Hazard
Similarly to the Chelsea star, he’s got the pace and trickery with the ball to dazzle and destroy and then the opportunistic streak, as shown by his wonderful goal against Real Madrid to score from distance.
One problem that Arsenal have struggled with at times is breaking down stubborn defences. To do that, you need players that will come deep and then make dangerous runs beyond the strikers. You can see the Napoli man do that successfully against Juventus.
First, he makes the move towards the midfield. With a first-time chip up the pitch, he instantly turns and looks to pick up the return flick.
The heads of the Juventus defenders are turned and no one matches his run. Insigne can then play a superb ball to the back post and José Callejón opened the scoring against the champions in the Coppa Italia.
Whenever Alexis plays left-wing, you can see the similarities between what he adds and Insigne’s performances for Napoli. Then, it’s the same as what Mertens and the Chilean bring as a centre-forward. With that in mind, it would be exciting to experience what the former Udinese man and the Italian could do together in Arsenal’s attack.
Is he an upgrade for Arsenal?
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Movement, smart intelligent runs, ability on both feet, it could be a perfect fit and ideal combination.
Insigne provides much more of a goal threat than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alex Iwobi, averaging 0.5 goals per 90 minutes. He’s taking 4.3 shots per 90, proving he is not afraid to have a pop, something that always frustrates fans at the Emirates.
The Italian also edges them in key passes per 90, up at 2.2, with Oxlade-Chamberlain at 2.0 and Iwobi averaging 1.1.
Add someone like Theo Walcott, or the Ox to the right-wing and you can an attacking option that can meet Insigne’s crosses and combine for one of the best, exciting attacks in England.
The offer his agent mentioned would come out at around £75,000-per-week. That is the same deal that Welbeck, but just more than Lucas Perez and Oxlade-Chamberlain. It certainly wouldn’t be hard to the Gunners to match his asking price and when you analyse what he would bring to their attack, he could be worth every penny.