Arsenal Defender Johan Djourou Set to Join Napoli This Week

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 11:  Johan Djourou of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at Molineux on April 11, 2012 in Wolverhampton, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images
Matthew SnyderAnalyst IIIJune 9, 2012

After making just 14 league starts for Arsenal during the 2011-12 Premier League season, and finding his path to more consistent first-team football blocked by the likes of Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, center-back Johan Djourou is readying a move to Serie A side Napoli.

"Can Djourou join Napoli? It's certainly possible, especially as we will be in Italy next week for a series of appointments," Djourou's agent Flavio Ferraria told Radio Crc.

A fee in the region of €10 million (£8.1 million) has already been received for the player, according to Ferraria, but not from Napoli. The agent is playing the move very coyly.

"At the moment Napoli are not on the list of appointments, but everything is possible," Ferraria said. "If he leaves the Premier League, then he will play in Italy or Spain.

"I saw my client the other day and he was enthusiastic about both Napoli and Italy in general."

Djourou had previously expressed a desire to join a top-five Serie A side, should he make a move to Italy.

The news of his potential departure won't come as too great a shock to Arsenal supporters, who had never seen the Swiss international develop into the kind of steadying force at the back his considerable potential hinted at.

Injuries forced Djourou to play at right-back this season, and had the Ivorian-born Swiss shown a proficiency for the position, he might have seen his stock grow in Arsene Wenger's eyes.

It was not the case, however.

Djourou joined Arsenal in 2002 from Geneva-based Etoile Carouge, and signed his first professional contract for the north London club in 2003. He has been featuring for the Arsenal first team since the 2004-05 season.

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