Hamšik and Napoli – On stranger tides

What began as a small flame has now blown into a full forest fire as twice in the space of a week, Napoli’s Marek Hamšik has been quoted acknowledging his desire to move away from the San Paolo. The Slovakian, once thought to be the pivot of the reborn Partenopei, is suddenly eager to leave the city behind in search of more glory.
There are a few ways to analyse what Hamšik has told the Slovakian newspaper Pravda and what he said to Gazzetta dello Sport. According to the former, he was explicitly clear in his desire to join Milan and said he felt ”his time as a Napoli player had come to an end”. With the Italian daily, the Slovak says ”he loves Napoli, but wants Milan”. There are always doubts cast upon statements released to local newspapers as they are often translated incorrectly but Hamšik’s statements to Gazzetta clearly indicate he is being tempted by the prospect of joining the Scudetto winners.
This sudden desire to leave could primarily be traced back to his performances from last season, when he was cast out of the spotlight by a certain Edinson Cavani. Hamšik was the toast of Naples following the 2009/10 season when his playmaking exploits saw him drive the Azzurri to a sixth place finish ahead of Juventus. Cavani’s arrival was meant to showcase his abilities even further as it meant he had a brilliant finisher and converter to feed regularly, but this proved not to be the case. Cavani effectively took over as the leader of the team in the attacking third allowing Hamšik less time and space to bombard into the opponent’s half as he had done previously. In fact quite a few times, one would see Hamšik try too hard to go on his own when he had better options available.
The stats were also not in favour of Marek as his productivity decreased for the Partenopei. Though he scored 13 goals in the campaign, one more than the previous season, he played 10 more games and the number of assists provided also remained largely the same (a not so impressive six). It could quite possibly be his belief that Napoli no longer lean on him the way they did earlier that might have prompted him to rethink his future in the South of Italy. One of the other reasons could also be that he feels the team overachieved last season and will come nowhere close to matching the results this coming term. If that is indeed the case, it would not bode well for Coach Walter Mazzarri if one of his most important players lacks faith in the team’s abilities.
President Aurelio Di Laurentiis has made it clear that he still sees Hamšik as a vital cog in the Azzurri wheel. His desire for an ‘indecent proposal’ will most likely not be met by Milan, or any other club in the peninsula for that matter. But, if he does decide to cash in on the Slovakian, it could quite easily pave the way for Javier Pastore to become the latest Argentine No.10 to set foot in the mythical San Paolo.

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