Liverpool, Newcastle misery as world-class star closes in on lucrative rival deal; £88m transfer claim emerges

Napoli stars Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Kim Min-jae

Liverpool and Newcastle will be distraught after learning that a brilliant Napoli player is close to agreeing a new contract with the Serie A leaders, which would make a transfer even harder to complete.

Napoli are enjoying a phenomenal campaign, having built up an 11-point gap to second-placed Lazio and putting themselves in a great position to win their first league title since the days of Diego Maradona.

Napoli are also still in with a shout of winning the Champions League for the first time in their history. They are through to the last eight of the competition, where they will come up against Italian rivals AC Milan.

Three Napoli stars in particular are picking up plenty of attention from Europe’s elite teams. The first is striker Victor Osimhen, who boasts one of the best records in Europe with 25 goals from 29 appearances this term.

Osimhen is linking up fantastically well with winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. The latter only moved to one of the top five leagues on the continent last summer but is proving to be a huge hit. After registering 14 goals and 16 assists in 30 outings, he has been given the nickname ‘Kvaradona’.

Then there is centre-half Kim Min-jae, who has been a rock at the back for Napoli this season.

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Manchester United, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are all interested in Osimhen, while Kvaratskhelia is wanted by Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester City. Kim, meanwhile, is thought to be on the radars of Man Utd and Liverpool.

Unfortunately for the three teams going after Kvaratskhelia, it seems he will be remaining in Naples for the next few years. French source Foot Mercato, who name PSG as another club interested in the 22-year-old, claim he is close to penning a new contract at Napoli.

Napoli aim to tie down key player

His current deal only expires in June 2027, but club chiefs want to reward him for his top performances with a pay rise. Kvaratskhelia’s fresh terms will run for an extra year, until June 2028.

He will become the second-highest earner at Napoli, behind only Osimhen.

The money on offer is nowhere near what Kvaratskhelia could earn at Liverpool or Newcastle, for example. However, he is extremely happy where he is and sees no reason to leave for a richer club.

Of course, it is unlikely Napoli will be able to keep the Georgian forever. Eventually he may outgrow the club and push for a move to one of Europe’s biggest sides.

Napoli are not including a release clause in Kvaratskhelia’s new deal, although they have set a price at which they would consider his sale in the future.

The report claims Kvaratskhelia will be sold in a few years’ time if a €100m (£88m) bid arrives. This will see Napoli make a huge profit on the attacker as they only paid around £10m for him last year.

£88m sounds like a lot for Liverpool or Newcastle to spend on one player. However, if Kvaratskhelia keeps playing at the level he is currently at, then he will be worth this sum as he will establish himself as one of the best wingers on the planet.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have ramped up their pursuit of a Bundesliga defender who ‘ticks all the boxes’ for Jurgen Klopp, according to a report.