Elseid Hysaj's Agent Says Napoli Denied Defender Chelsea Switch Last Summer

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2018

BELGRADE, SERBIA - SEPTEMBER 18: Elseid Hysaj of SSC Napoli in action during the Group C match of the UEFA Champions League between Crvena Zvezda Belgrade and SSC Napoli at Rajko Mitic Stadium on September 18, 2018 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Napoli defender Elseid Hysaj could have joined former coach Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea last summer, but Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis prevented the move, according to the player's agent.

Mario Giuffredi, who represents Hysaj, has supported his client after recent criticism of his form, and said the right-back could have left for Stamford Bridge and the Premier League.

Speaking to Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli (h/t Goal), Giuffredi said:

"Those who criticise him probably never make mistakes, but the rest of us are mere mortals.

Without that clause he probably would have gone to Chelsea this summer.

People forget that he was one of the best two or three full-backs in Europe last season. Then it just takes two or three matches for him to become a donkey.

“I always say to let everyone talk and then respond on the pitch."

REGGIO NELL'EMILIA, ITALY - AUGUST 23:  SSC Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis and SSC Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri look on before the Serie A match between US Sassuolo Calcio and SSC Napoli at Mapei Stadium - Città del Tricolore on August 23, 2015 in
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Sarri was shown the door by Napoli as rumours of a switch to Chelsea grew, and the coach immediately raided his former team for the signing of Jorginho. It now seems De Laurentiis made sure Hysaj didn't follow.

The breakdown of the relationship between Sarri and De Laurentiis appears to have damaged any chance of the Blues manager returning to Naples to handpick from his former players.

De Laurentiis recently explained he lost faith in Sarri in the final months of his tenure.

Speaking to Corriere dello Sport (h/t Alex Richards of the Mirror), the Napoli supremo said:

"Sarri? I thought I had met a coach who would stay at Napoli for a long time. At a certain point it became a question linked exclusively to money.

Suddenly, it was established by the media that his contract must be adjusted. So what is the value of an agreement just signed? We had already gone from €700,000 to €1.5 million.

I also once heard him say that for his next contract, he wanted to get rich. 

Sarri's declarations of love for the city? I believed it, but then I wondered: 'What if he was using me as a bank?'"

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Elseid Hysaj of Albania during the UEFA Nations League C group one match between Scotland and Albania at Hampden Park on September 10, 2018 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Hysaj followed Sarri from Empoli to Napoli in 2015, and has clearly been one of the Italian's most trusted players over an extended period.

The 24-year-old's technical ability has seen him become revered in Italy, and he would have been perfectly at home if he had moved to the Bridge.

The Albania international played 43 games for his club in Serie A and Europe last term, and his versatility on both flanks makes him a vital squad member.

Chelsea have a settled pair of first-choice full-backs, with Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta both stellar performers for the west London giants.

The pair's consistency negates the need for a concerted move for Hysaj, with the Blues having to strengthen in other positions.

As the long-term future of Eden Hazard remains unsure, Chelsea will be eyeing attacking midfielders across the world rather than defensive talent.

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