Arsenal’s pursuit of Napoli man derailed by new contract talks

Arsenal have been handed a blow in their pursuit of Napoli man Lorenzo Insigne, as the attacking midfielder prepares to commit his future to the Italian club.

The Italian was reportedly close to joining the Gunners for £17m after the World Cup in Brazil, but such a move never materialised.

More recently, the Naples outfit have been approached with a bid for the 24-year-old, thought to be from the north London club.

But now it appears that the former Pescara man will be staying put at the Stadio San Paolo.

Speaking on a local radio station, Insigne’s agent Antonio Ottaiano has spoken of how his client wants to lead Gli Azzurri onto bigger and better things.

“Insigne has always declared his desire to remain in Naples,” he told Radio Kiss.

“Lorenzo has always shown the greatest desire to be the captain of Napoli and this says a lot about he regards the club.

“He has already chosen Napoli, he dreams of winning with Napoli. We are open to [a contract] renewal.”

The player’s current deal runs up until 2019, so it is likely to be a case of increased wages that any negotiations relate to.

The arrival of Manolo Gabbiadini at the club last term saw chances become more limited, with Ottaiano suggesting that his man wanted clarification of his role in the team.

But Insigne has been a mainstay this season, netting three times in six Serie A fixtures to help Maurizio Sarri’s side recover from a slow start and move up to ninth in the table.

The former Empoli manager has clearly made a statement of intent that he is wanted at the club and that any move away is far more unlikely.

Insigne suffered a knee injury in his side’s surprise victory against Juventus at the weekend, though Ottaiano gave an upbeat verdict, describing it as just a “slight discomfort” and “nothing serious”.

Should the talks that are mooted go ahead and Insigne signs a new contract at Napoli, it would come as a huge blow to Arsene Wenger and Co.

With money talking in football, a new contract doesn’t make a transfer impossible (see Fabian Delph), but it will mean that the capital club will have to stump up a fair bit more if they are to bring him to the Emirates.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.