Premier League • England

Liverpool interest in Europe’s hottest winger sparks telling response, as Fabrizio Romano claims ring true

Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah

Liverpool and Man City interest in Napoli sensation Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has sparked a defiant response from their sporting director that mirrors Fabrizio Romano’s comments.

When hearing the phrase ‘Europe’s hottest winger’, many will immediately think of Cody Gakpo. The PSV Eindhoven ace has 13 goals and 11 assists in just 19 matches this season. But against tougher opposition in the form of Arsenal on Thursday night, the Dutchman was easily contained.

By contrast, Napoli sensation, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, is pulling up trees in the tougher Champions League.

After four rounds of group stage matches, the 21-year-old has five goal contributions in just four games.

He’s helped Napoli maintain a 100 percent record in a group that also contains Liverpool, while his five goals and five assists in Serie A have helped fire Napoli to the top of the table.

Kvaratskhelia is equally adept with both feet and as such, offers versatility in abundance. He’s already counted left wing, second striker and attacking midfield among the positions he’s played this season.

What makes Kvaratskhelia’s rapid rise all the more surprising is he was transferred from Dinamo Batumi to Napoli only last summer for a mind boggling £9m fee.

That already looks a snip, with his true value certain to be four or even five times as much after just four months in Italy.

Napoli will hope to retain their new talisman for the long haul, though the vultures are already beginning to circle.

Liverpool, Man City, Tottenham all involved

Italian outlet Calciomercato reported Liverpool and Man City both like what they’ve seen. What’s more, Tottenham were interested in signing Kvaratskhelia way back in 2020 and Antonio Conte is reportedly keen on righting that wrong.

However, per Romano, the chances of any club signing Kvaratskhelia in January are extremely slim.

He reported: “Napoli have no plans to sell Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. They’re really happy with him at this moment after an excellent start to the season.”

The trusted journalist added: “All the top European clubs are following him at the moment but there are no talks or advanced discussions.

“Tottenham wanted to sign Kvaratskhelia back in 2020 but the price tag was €30m before the war in Ukraine.”

Now, speculation over Premier League interest in Kvaratskhelia has sparked a defiant response from Napoli sporting director, Cristiano Giuntoli.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia not for sale

Via HITC, Giuntoli said when quizzed about his prized winger moving to England some time soon: “Not true! This is a lie.”

“We have no desire to sell Kvaratskhelia.”

Whether Napoli can adhere to their sporting director’s demands for the long haul remains to be seen. When the financial might of the Premier League clubs comes calling, many find it hard to refuse.

Napoli have shown a stubbornness in recent times regarding many of their finest players.

Indeed, Victor Osimhen remains in Naples despite repeated links with Manchester United.

Kalidou Koulibaly was perennially linked with a move to England’s top flight, and Napoli only gave the greenlight when the centre-back had passed 30.

Kvaratskhelia is quickly becoming as important as Osimhen is and Koulibaly was. If he continues to develop at such a rapid rate, Napoli’s resolve will face an even sterner test.

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