Napoli are thought to be considering a move for Michael Essien, due to the difficulties they are having in their pursuit of Etienne Capoue.
Rafael Benitez is eager to land a top-class midfield player during the January window, as the Partenopei look to cement their place in the top three of Serie A. The Spaniard has widely reported to have set his sights on a deal for France international Capoue, who has struggled to make an impact since signing for Tottenham Hotspur during the summer.
The 25-year-old has made just 12 appearances in all competitions since linking up from Toulouse, although his cause wasn’t helped by an ankle injury which ruled him out for the best part of a month. It has been suggested that should a suitable offer be made for his signature, Spurs would consider cashing in on him this winter.
However, according to Sky Sport Italia, a meeting which took place between the two clubs has failed to reach an agreement. It is believed Napoli are keen to take Capoue on an initial loan deal for the remainder of the season with the view to a permanent switch, but Tottenham want to recoup most of the £9.68million they paid for him now.
Corriere dello Sport now claims Benitez has turned his attentions to alternative targets, including Chelsea star Essien. The Spanish coach was in charge at the Stamford Bridge club for the majority of last season, yet he didn’t actually get chance to work with the Ghanaian international who was, at the time, on loan at Real Madrid.
Since his return to the English capital the 31-year-old has struggled for game time, with Jose Mourinho selecting him to start just five times in all competitions. The recent acquisition of £21million Nemanja Matic is likely to push him further down the pecking order, so the former Marseille enforce could be available for a reasonable price.
If Benitez fails to persuade Mourinho to part with Essien, then he could look to take Yann M’Vila from Rubin Kazan. The France international joined the Russian side 12 months ago, and has played 28 times this season. Napoli are said to be lining up an exchange offer for the player, which would see Edu Vargas move in the opposite direction.