It seems to be a matter of neither if nor when Thiago Almada will depart Atlanta United. The questions regarding the Five Stripes’ DP midfielder are closer to “to whom” and “how much”.
We might be close to getting the answer to one of those questions: on Thursday, a report from Naples radio station Kiss Kiss suggested that Napoli are keen to bring in the nearly 22-year-old on transfer. According to renowned football agent Andrea D’Amico, Almada “is a player...[Napoli sporting director] Cristiano Giuntoli likes very much” and that a deal “seems to be very close”.
On his “Here We Go” podcast, Fabrizio Romano confirmed Napoli’s interest, while refutting Italian reports that it was a “done deal”.
@FabrizioRomano conferma le indiscrezioni uscite oggi su Thiago Almada, un giocatore seguito tempo fa anche dall’Inter quando era in forza al Velez. L’Atlanta FC chiede almeno 20 milioni e ad oggi ci sono solo contatti con gli agenti del giocatore.Non è un affare chiuso, ad oggi. pic.twitter.com/0HTptRZ3sY— Lorenzo (@lorenzoparente_) April 20, 2023
Napoli are currently 14 points clear of second-place Lazio with 8 matches remaining as it closes in on a first scudetto since 1989-90. From a continental standpoint, Gli Azzurri saw its Champions League hopes come to an end on Tuesday in an all-Italian affair as Milan secured passage to the semifinals behind a 2-1 aggregate scoreline. Almada will hopefully prove a key figure in Napoli’s UCL hopes next year as it seeks its first title in European football since winning the old UEFA Cup in the 1988-89 season.
As for how much Almada could command? Miguel Almiron to Newcastle United is the highest-ever outgoing transfer in MLS history (around $27 million). Consensus is that Almada might exceed that rather easily. Not only that, but this certainly would be a much higher-profile transfer given that Napoli are currently entrenched at the top of its league table and will be back in Champions League in 2023-24.
Inconvenient truth about Thiago Almada potentially moving to Napoli is that a loan back to #ATLUTD through end of season is probably off the table given that Napoli will be back in UCL next year, unless Napoli feel it will be fine without him for parts of group stage— Sydney Hunte (@SHWrites) April 20, 2023
We’ll obviously monitor, but this will be far from the last report like this we’ll see leading up to the summer transfer window.