The fractured relationship between Napoli and winger Hirving Lozano is showing no signs of healing and the Serie A champions are preparing for life without the Mexican, with a shortlist of alternatives drawn up.
As reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Lozano has rejected a contract extension to 2026 at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona after being asked to take a wage cut, from €4.5 million per season to €2.5m.
Napoli are keen to bring their wage bill down and president Aurelio De Laurentiis had wanted to retain Lozano at a deal that would reduce costs, but the proposal has led to tensions growing between the player and the club. Indeed, De Laurentiis has now delegated negotiations to sporting directors Mauro Meluso and Maurizio Micheli due to his frustrations.
Lozano’s transfer request disrupts Napoli’s plans
The former PSV Eindhoven winger was due to start Napoli‘s opening match against Frosinone in Serie A on Saturday but submitted a formal transfer request just hours before kick-off.
Giacomo Raspadori was instead selected in his place and helped Rudi Garcia‘s team secure a 3-1 win, but Lozano‘s conduct has infuriated De Laurentiis and he remains unimpressed with the timing of the request.
To further complicate matters, Lozano is yet to receive a proposal from elsewhere and no other club has met Napoli‘s valuation, so the Mexico international may well need to repair relations with the Azzurri over the coming weeks.
The targets to replace Lozano
However, should Lozano move on before the close of the transfer window, Napoli are prepared to move swiftly to replace him and have identified PSV‘s Johan Bakayoko as their top target.
The Dutch club are holding out for €30m for the 20-year-old, but De Laurentiis is unwilling to meet that figure and Napoli must attempt to bring the asking price down if they are to secure the Belgian.
Alternatively, the Partenopei will attempt to lure Eintracht Frankfurt‘s Jesper Lindstrom to Serie A, but it is believed that he would cost a similar fee to Bakayoko and there is less chance of negotiating a discount.
Lille‘s Edon Zhegrova completes the list of potential targets to replace Lozano, who has scored 30 goals in 155 appearances since joining Napoli in 2019.