Napoli’s N’Zonzi interest threatens to derail Stoke’s season

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Napoli’s N’Zonzi interest threatens to derail Stoke’s season

French midfielder would be a major loss to the Potters if the allure of Naples was too much

As most Stoke fans continue to revel in their weekend triumph over Arsenal (their fifth victory in eight at home to the Gunners), they could be about to be hit with a major blow to their season.

Steven N’Zonzi has been one of their midfield lynchpins throughout the campaign, featuring in every Premier League match so far, running the show from the centre of the park.

But the Frenchman, despite apparently being content to stay in Staffordshire, could have his head turned by interest from Serie A according to reports coming out of Italy.

Rafa Benitez’s Napoli looked to have turned their attention to the 25-year-old, seeing him as an alternative to Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva after appearing to fall behind Inter in the race to sign the Brazilian.

N’Zonzi is just five appearances off reaching three figures at the Britannia Stadium outfit and is seen as a key member of the squad, so replacing him could be tricky.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes has recently admitted that he has no funds to play with during the January transfer window, but the exit of the former Blackburn man could provide a transfer budget of some sort.

The former France under-21 international arrived at the club in 2012 for £3.5m and has 18 months left on his contract. It is expected the Potters will be seeking a healthy profit before they are prepared to let their star asset leave.

And while no bid has yet been made, interest from a side currently fighting for third spot in Serie A and en route to the knock out stages in the Europa League might be too much for N’Zonzi to resist.

But before any decision can be made Stoke must utilise the momentum the weekend’s win will have given them as they prepare to visit Crystal Palace in a match that they are 15/8 to claim first back-to-back Premier League wins this season.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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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.