Napoli president promises: I won’t buy African players anymore!

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • 3 Aug 2022 09:20 BST
  • 3 min read
Victor Osimhen, Napoli, 2021/22
© ProShots

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has said that he will not buy African players anymore because of the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Serie A side have just sold Senegal international Kalidou Koulibaly to Chelsea for €40 million in one of the biggest done deals of the summer, but the veteran president has sparked controversy over his comments regarding African players on the whole.

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Indeed, he has pledged that he will not add any more stars from the continent to his club’s ranks unless they sign a waiver that prevents them from taking part in the AFCON, which typically takes place in January and February.

Speaking to the Wall Steet Italia show, he said: “Enough of African players, or they should give up playing the African Cup. I won’t buy any more of them for this reason. We pay the salaries to send them around to play for the world in the middle of the league championship!”

Napoli’s African stars

Despite this stance, Napoli have signed Cameroon international Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa from Fulham this summer for €15m, although the former Marseille man did spend last season on loan with the Naples club.

Furthermore, Napoli’s biggest star is Victor Osimhen, who has been courted by numerous Premier League clubs this summer, including Manchester United and Arsenal. The 23-year-old has played 22 times for Nigeria and is regarded as one of the hottest up-and-coming forwards in the world game. The ex-Lile star is happy at Napoli by all accounts, despite a public falling out with coach Luciano Spalletti in pre-season.

Algeria international Adam Ounas is also on Napoli’s books but is a more peripheral figure.

Victor Osimhen has been linked to Man Utd and Arsenal this summer
© ProShots - Victor Osimhen has been linked to Man Utd and Arsenal this summer

When is the next AFCON?

The timing of the AFCON is typically a sore subject with big clubs around Europe for precisely the reasons that De Laurentiis has argued, particularly because it takes place every two years and not ever four, like other major international tournaments.

The next addition of the AFCON will take place in Ivory Coast in January 2024, having been moved from its initial schedule of June-July 2023 because of weather concerns.

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