AFC Bournemouth
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Manchester United
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AC Milan
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FC Augsburg
Eintracht Frankfurt
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2:00 AM UTC Dec 5, 2016
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
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Napoli chief: We will cope without Cavani

Napoli will "continue to move forward" despite the possible summer sale of star striker Edinson Cavani, according to club president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Edinson Cavani celebrates after scoring one of his two goals in Napoli's thrilling 3-2 win at home to Atalanta
Edinson Cavani has been in inspired form for Napoli this season

Cavani, 26, who has hit 27 goals in 33 games for Walter Mazzarri's side this season, is being tipped for a big-money move at the end of the current campaign.

The Uruguay international has a €63 million release clause written into his contract, making a transfer to one of football's big spenders, such as the reportedly interested Manchester City or Real Madrid, seeming likely.

De Laurentiis, however, feels his Napoli side will still be a force to be reckoned with even if they lose their talisman.

“If Cavani decides to leave then the clause will be activated,” he told Radio Marte. “If it was up to me, then he would stay here for the rest of his career. But if he receives an intriguing offer from a decorated club then he will be free to decide.

“If he does leave, Napoli will continue to move forward – just as we did after Ezequiel Lavezzi went to Paris Saint-Germain. The club will continue its climb and we’ll choose the best possible players to replace him.

“No matter what will happen, Napoli will remain at the very highest levels. Our growth started many years ago and we need to continue on this path.”

Meanwhile, De Laurentiis has also spoken about his proposed plans to help reform the Italian game.

The Napoli chief wants clubs to focus more on developing young Italian players, as opposed to spending big on expensive foreign imports, while giving them a professional stage to perform on.

“We need to form players for the future because we can’t keep buying from outside of Italy,” he said. “All that is needed for that is to then allow our youth teams to take part in the Lega Pro Divisions. That would help our youngsters and their value grow. We would therefore already have a reservoir that would guarantee us reinforcements for the future.”

De Laurentiis also wants to see Serie A reduced from 20 to 16 clubs, and has called for the end of curved stadiums.

“It needs to be cut to 16 sides. And we can’t wait another ten years in order to reduce those numbers. If we want to revolutionise Calcio then we can do so in three months,” he said.

He added: "If I could build a new stadium then I’d get rid of the Curvas behind the goal. I adore the Curvas and I know how much passion is there, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t put those spectators in the best possible place to view the games.

“We have to offer the maximum at stadiums, the best facilities, to give a person who pays €10 the same opportunities to watch the game as one who pays €100. We have to think that we can’t please everyone because if you try to do that then you won’t make anyone happy.”


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