S.S.C. Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has played down reports linking Marek Hamsik with a summer exit from the Stadio San Paolo.
The Slovakia international, 26, joined Napoli from Brescia for just €5.5 million in the summer of 2007 and has gone on to become one of the best midfielders in the Italian Serie A.
Hamsik has struggled to replicate his production from last term in 2013/14, fueling speculation suggesting De Laurentiis could place him on the transfer market in the summer.
However, the Napoli supremo has insisted the three-time Slovak Footballer of the Year will stay at the club, as long as he wishes to do so.
“Why should he be? It’s only journalists who put him on the market,” De Laurentiis told Radio Kiss Kiss, per Sky Sports.
“Marek has to come and tell me if he wants to go, but there is no more Neapolitan player than him. He has become Neapolitan and for me he is absolutely not for sale.
“Of course, if he came to me and asked to leave, then we’d have to discuss it.”
In the meantime, De Laurentiis is contemplating a second move to sign Olympique Lyonnais captain Maxime Gonalons after failing to secure the Frenchman’s signature in January.
Gonalons, who has also been linked with Arsenal, Schalke 04 and VfL Wolfsburg, can feature in central defence or central midfield and is among the most highly-rated players in France.
In fact, the France international, 25, has won man-of-the-match honours in six of 39 combined starts in Ligue 1 and the UEFA Europa League for Lyon this season. Efficient.
“We will have time to think about it,” said De Laurentiis. “I found an immediate agreement with Gonalons, but it was Aulas who dug his heels in and pushed things beyond every level.
“Now I don’t want to take revenge on Lyon, as that is not part of my nature. Everyone thinks they have gems and ask for outlandish prices.
“With Rafa Benitez and Riccardo Bigon we are considering the situation. The problem is that I prefer focusing on youngsters, as more experienced players can also be a little spoilt. They can do well the first year, but nothing says they’ll keep that up in the second or third.
“I prefer to seek 20-year-old talents and Benitez is getting used to this approach, because I am not asking him for everything straight away. I want a team that becomes strong over time.”
Gonalons, rated at around €14 million, has also been linked with Arsenal, Schalke 04 and VfL Wolfsburg.