Crystal Palace’s hopes of snaring Andre-Frank Anguissa from under Napoli’s noses have seemingly suffered a telling blow.
The 25-year-old impressed during Fulham’s ill-fated return to the Premier League last season. However, despite Anguissa’s best efforts, the Cottagers could not hold on to their place at the top table. As such, it was no surprise to see the Cameroon midfielder secure a deadline-day move to Napoli.
His move to the Diego Maradona Stadium, however, is only on an initial loan. And reports last week suggested Palace boss Patrick Vieira was looking to lure him away from Naples and back to London.
Luciano Spalletti’s side have the option to make the deal permanent in June. Fulham want £20m for his services but may be negotiated down as his contract expires the following year.
Vieira is keeping a close eye on the situation. He wanted to land the Cameroon international before he joined Napoli but had no luck.
As such, it was stated that Palace could ‘hijack’ Napoli’s move in the summer. They are preparing to go big for the defensive-minded player in a bid to improve Vieira’s options.
However, according to journalist Valter De Maggio, a permanent deal to take Anguissa to Napoli is already done.
And speaking to Radio Kiss Kiss, as relayed by Area Napoli, the deal has been hailed as a “masterpiece”.
“In the last few hours, I have received a draft about an operation the club will close only in June. To tell you the truth, it is the continuation of a market masterpiece completed in June by Cristiano Giuntoli,” De Maggio said.
“You know what operation I am referring to, the masterpiece from the Napoli director this year. And he bears a name and is called Anguissa. He was taken by Napoli for a loan of only €400k from Fulham.”
Asked if he was referring to the move being made permanent, De Maggio added: “Well yes! Napoli have already chosen to redeem the boy.
“But the operation will be concluded only at the end of the season. I get this plan. Napoli has already decided to pay Anguissa’s ransom, but will formalize it next June.”
Vieira takes comfort in Gallagher brilliance
Vieira will now have to go back to the drawing board in his efforts to further bolster Palace’s midfield options.
He can at least take some comfort from the performances of Conor Gallagher, who has excelled since signing on loan from Chelsea.
The 21-year-old is emerging as a top young talent. And Vieira could not fault him after netting against Wolves at the weekend.
He said: “His performance has been terrific. He’s been excellent. Just about how he is closing people down. The energy he gives the team.
“Players like that who start the pressing and everybody behind him following. He’s in a really good period, scoring goals and working well for the team.”
Palace climbed into the top half of the table, at least temporarily, and are now just one point behind opponents Wolves who sit eighth.
Vieira added: “We showed today we can improve as a team. This is what we hope to achieve from the first game against Chelsea. Improving individually to allow ourselves to be more solid collectively.”