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Napoli on the up after hot start, big transfer deals

MILAN (AFP) – A troubled summer for Napoli appears to be well and truly over after their impressive opening win at Verona was followed by a trio of big signings, led by Giovanni Simeone, which have only strengthened their Serie A title credentials.

Fans in Naples had been demanding owner and film mogul Aurelio De Laurentiis sell the club after last season’s Scudetto challenge collapsed at the last.

The departures of favourites Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens – the club’s all-time top scorer – only increased supporter frustration.

But with star midfielder Fabian Ruiz also frozen out of the team ahead of a potential move to Paris Saint-Germain, Luciano Spalletti’s side nonetheless looked settled and dangerous in their 5-2 win at the Stadio Bentegodi.

On Thursday, they confirmed the long-anticipated arrival of Simeone, adding an attacker who netted 17 times in Serie A last season to a forward line already containing Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen.

They are also set to complete further deals for France midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and rising Italian star Giacomo Raspadori – both were in Rome on Thursday for medicals.

All three should be available tomorrow for Napoli’s clash with new boys Monza, not a tricky proposition judging by their home defeat to Torino last weekend.

Less lucky in the transfer market are Juventus, who had been all set to make their final moves until Adrien Rabiot’s deal with Manchester United collapsed threw a spanner in the works.

“A day off before back to work,” said the France midfielder on his social media channels, giving a clear hint that his move to England was off.

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