Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is enjoying life at Napoli amid reports linking him with a move to the Premier League, recalling how he was desperate to sign for the Partenopei ahead of this campaign.
Kvaratskhelia has been a revelation since joining Luciano Spalletti’s side from Dinamo Batumi in July, scoring six goals and adding five assists in Serie A this season.
With Napoli eight points clear at the summit ahead of Serie A’s resumption next month, no player in the Italian top flight has bettered the Georgia winger’s total of 11 goal contributions.
While the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham have previously been touted as possible future destinations for Kvaratskhelia, recent reports have suggested Newcastle United have made him their top target for the January transfer window.
However, the 21-year-old cited life in Naples and his enjoyment of Spalletti’s style of play as being key to his happiness while recalling his decision to join the club.
“The negotiations with Napoli lasted a long time, about two years, I was very happy that such a great team was interested in me,” he told DAZN. “I couldn’t wait to wear the Napoli shirt.
“I felt every now and then that there was interest from other teams as well, but having the offer from Napoli, I never thought about anything else. I wanted to play for Napoli.
“When I happened to watch their matches, I thought I could adapt perfectly to that type of game. I really liked how they played and it happened.
“Here, the city lives for the love of football, everyone knows football in Naples. It is motivating when the whole city cheers for you and transmits love to you in every moment.”
Asked whether he had surprised himself by emerging as one of Europe’s most dangerous attackers, Kvaratskhelia added: “I’m still a long way from this definition, but I’ll do my best to confirm it.
“In any case, no, I didn’t expect it. It’s very difficult to think that from such a small country you can get to play in such a big team.
“It was my dream to play in a renowned top club like Napoli. However, I still have a long way to go and many goals to achieve.”
Kvaratskhelia leads his Napoli team-mates for dribbles completed (19) and carries ending with a chance created (12) in Serie A this term, leading supporters to dub him ‘Kvaradona’ in reference to club legend Diego Maradona.
The Georgian failed to hide his glee when asked about that nickname, saying: “When just a small part of the Maradona name is associated with yours, it’s an honour.
“It creates an emotion different from the other [nicknames] – it fills me with pride. Today ‘Kvaradona’ is definitely my favourite.”
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