Serie A capital gains: Why is Napoli’s purchase of Victor Osimhen under investigation?

Investigations into various Serie A clubs are ramping up and Napoli's signing of Victor Osimhen is attracting a lot of heat, as shown by a recent raid of a Serie C side's headquarters.

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Fans of Serie A are becoming very familiar with the phrase ‘capital gains’ and now it is following the best striker in the division around as well, rather than just Juventus.

There was a recent raid of Serie C side Turris which was done to acquire details about one of the players that Napoli included in their bid to sign Victor Osimhen from Lille back in 2020.

Whilst much of the talk may be around whether Osimhen is going to be sold by Napoli in the summer transfer window, it is the purchase of him that is starting to grab the headlines.

Victor Osimhen in action. (@sscnapoli)

Napoli’s deal for Osimhen

As was reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport earlier in the week, the Naples Public Prosecutor’s Office are continuing its investigation into capital gains fraud within Serie A, something that has already lead to a 15-point penalty for Juventus and possible action being taken against Lazio and AS Roma.

Under orders from the Prosecutor’s Office, the Guardia di Finanza raided the headquarters of Serie C side, Turris. They did this to acquire the purchase papers and contracts of Claudio Manzi, a defender who is currently playing for Entella.

He is one of four players that joined Lille as part of the deal that was reported to be worth €81 million at the time. The others were youth players Luigi Liguori and Ciro Palmieri, as well as goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis.

Whilst the figures still seem to be hazy and differ among varying reports, it is believed that Napoli actually parted with a relatively low amount of money as the four players were included with heavily inflated values. L’Equipe reported in 2021 that Napoli only paid €50m for Osimhen and the rest was made up by the four players.

Manzi was reportedly valued at €4m in the deal but he never even went to Lille. He was immediately loaned to Fermana and was then released by Lille a year later. He then signed for Turris on a free, before being sold to Entella for around €120,000, much less than the €4m he was supposedly worth not so long ago.

Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Kvicha Kvaratskhelia celebrate against AS Roma. [@sscnapoli]

Serie A and capital gains

Perhaps a clear symptom of Serie A waning financially over the last decade in comparison to other major leagues in Europe, this sort of creative accounting is starting to get uncovered at a number of clubs.

The headline-makers are Juventus given their 15-point penalty received earlier this season but Lazio and AS Roma have also had visits from the Guardia di Finanza.

Lots of individuals from both clubs are under investigation for deals than span beyond one set of owners, in the case of the Giallorossi. For Roma, previous president James Pallotta and current owner Dan Friedkin are both under investigation as the prosecutor’s concerns arise from transfers involving the club between 2017 and 2021, shortly after the Friedkin Group acquired AS Roma a year earlier.

One deal interesting the authorities is the swap deal involving Italy Euro 2020 winner Leonardo Spinazzola and Luca Pellegrini during the summer of 2019. Spinazzola left Juventus for Roma in a deal that valued him at €29.5m, while Pellegrini headed in the other direction at a value of €22m. Pellegrini is now a Lazio player.

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