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 By Ben Gladwell

Napoli owner announces signing of Genoa's Leonardo Pavoletti

Leonardo Pavoletti in action for Genoa against Udinese.
Leonardo Pavoletti could face Real Madrid in the Champions League in February.

Leonardo Pavoletti will join Napoli from Serie A rivals Genoa, according to their president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

De Laurentiis announced the transfer with a tweet on Tuesday morning in which he said "Welcome Leonardo!"

The Italian forward underwent medicals in Rome and Naples last week and the contracts were finally signed on Tuesday to make him Maurizio Sarri's first signing of the winter transfer window and give the Napoli coach an extra option in an attack which has lacked summer signing Arkadiusz Milik for much of the first half of the season due to a knee ligament injury.

In a post from his official Instagram account, Pavoletti thanked Genoa and looked forward to his move.

"A simple word, like me, " he wrote. "I say ciao to Genoa after two intense, happy years filled with emotion, enthusiasm and a lot of hard work. I remember how it started: January 2015, I was at home, in Leghorn. Suddenly I received a call: 'tomorrow come to Milan and sign for Genoa.' I didn't sleep that night for the emotion."

He added: "I was born at the seaside, in Leghorn. I returned to the seaside, in Genoa. Now I head to another seaside, for another adventure."

Pavoletti, 28, is currently out of action with his own knee injury, although he is expected to make a return before Milik, who is due back in February. He has scored three goals in nine Serie A games for Il Grifone this term.

Sarri will hope to have both available for his side's Champions League round-of-16 tie with Real Madrid in February and March with 41,000 tickets for the return leg in Naples sold within the space of five hours on Monday morning.

His arrival could see Manolo Gabbiadini leave the Azzurri this winter. The 25-year-old has found the back of the net just twice in 12 games with attacking midfielder Dries Mertens preferred in the final three games of 2016, in which he scored eight times.

Pavoletti becomes the second player to leave Genoa on Tuesday, following on from the sale of Tomas Rincon to Juventus.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.


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