Napoli have no plans to sell Hamsik
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis insists Marek Hamsik is not on the market, with speculation in Italy linking the Slovakian with a move to the Premier League this summer.
Manchester United and Chelsea have been touted as possible destinations by the Corriere dello Sport, which claimed the 26-year-old is becoming unsettled in Naples, despite pledging the rest of his career to the club not long ago.
His form may have dropped this season, but De Laurentiis told Radio Kiss Kiss that Napoli are not contemplating the sale of a player who has worn their colours with pride since 2007 unless he has a change of heart.
"Hamsik has identified himself with this city and he's become a Neapolitan," he said in quotes reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It's only journalists who are putting him on the transfer market. Hamsik is not for sale, unless he comes to me and asks to leave, but I don't really think he wants to do that."
Coach Rafa Benitez hopes Hamsik's commitment to the club does not waver either.
"He's fundamental to me and to the club," the Spaniard told a news conference. "He's not on the market and we don't want to sell him because we're delighted with him."
Napoli are nevertheless already lining up a potential alternative, with Lyon's Maxime Gonalons keen on joining the Serie A side, but De Laurentiis said the French club are jeopardising the transfer.
"We reached an agreement with him immediately," he said. "It's [Lyon president Jean-Michel] Aulas who has dug his feet into the ground and wants to speculate on the size of the fee. I'm not going to play that game, though, because it's not in my character to do so.
"We're assessing the situation with Benitez and [director of sport Riccardo] Bigon. We want to sign some strong youngsters, and Benitez is getting used to this train of thought because we're not looking for immediate results but for a strong team for the future."
That team will continue to include Gonzalo Higuain, a focal figure in the squad who was sorely missed in a 1-1 draw with Udinese on Saturday.
"We scored four goals with Higuain last weekend, and only one today," Benitez said. "He's fundamental for us."