Napoli wanted Simy Nwankwo

The Nigerian marksman was one of the finest strikers in the Italian top flight last term, despite his Crotone side eventually suffering relegation to the lower league

Giuseppe Ursino, Crotone’s sports director, revealed that Napoli were interested in signing Nigeria’s Simy Nwankwo following the striker’s exploits for the Shark of Calabria last season.

Ursino, 72, hinted that former Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso desired to take Simy to Naples as the deputy to star man Victor Osimhen once the summer transfer window opened in July.

It was no surprise that Gattuso had his eyes trained on Simy as there were few better than the Nigerian in sticking the ball into the back of the net.

Simy smashed in 20 goals and supplied three assists in 38 Serie A games last season for the Sharks, twelve months after recording similar numbers to power the same team to the pinnacle of the Italian Serie B.

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Gattuso must have been convinced of  Simy’s quality when the 29-year-old smashed a brace for Crotone at the Diego Maradona Stadium in April, a game Napoli later won 4-3.

But Napoli sacked Gattuso after the former Italian international failed to secure Champions League qualification, leaving Crotone to wait for a bid that never came for their prized asset.

Simy eventually joined Salernitana on loan with the Serie A new boys obliged to purchase his contract if they avoid getting demoted at the end of the season.

Crotone, though, are left with a bitter taste in the mouth that the Simy to Napoli deal didn’t materialise.

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“Napoli also asked us for Simy as deputy to Osimhen,” Ursino told Radio Kiss Kiss.

“Gattuso was then on the bench. But Gattuso left, and we didn’t get anything done.”

Simy has made two appearances from the bench for Salernitana and has one assist to his name.