The stand-off between Napoli and Lorenzo Insigne looks set to continue, after the player and his representatives rejected a new deal.
Insigne’s agent, Fabio Andreotti, went even further to suggest his client will now leave his boyhood club.
“In our last meeting, we didn’t like some of the answers that the club gave us. Lorenzo made a decision with his heart, but a player’s professional life doesn’t last forever, and when other clubs are willing to reward you financially, then you’ve got to get onto the market,” he told Radio CRC.
After claiming Insigne could become the “Francesco Totti of Napoli” and be a one-club man, the backflip comes amid interest from, Andreotti asserts, Europe’s top clubs.
“Three among the richest clubs in Europe want Lorenzo, and [sporting director Cristiano] Guintoli has known this for a long time,” he said.
“Napoli turned them down and we were happy about that, but then we didn’t like some of the things they told us. His heart is in Naples, but the professional understands now that his path with Napoli could come to an end, considering what his situation is like with the club.”
The two parties were reportedly discussing a new five-year deal that would have tied the 25-year-old to Napoli until 2021, but while Andreotti was looking for a yearly wage around €3.5m, Napoli offered closer to €2.5m.
Andreotti added Insigne is not pleased with developments, given he would prefer to stay with Napoli, who were the closest thing to a competitor for Juventus in last season’s Serie A.
However, Napoli will be hoping to go one better this season when they start their league campaign away to Pescara on August 21.
Despite signing Arkadiusz Milik and Emanuele Giacherini in the off-season, adding to Gonzalo Higuain’s sale to Juventus, Napoli is unprepared to lose the link to midfield and attack in Insigne.
“In the past, Lorenzo thought only about the good of Napoli, but if there isn’t an adequate project then we must ask them for permission to leave,” Andreotti said.
“Napoli have the final word, and they have the right to do what they like. But they must remember that players are not robots, but men. Lorenzo is extremely unhappy about this, because he sees his future in Napoli.”