Marcel Brands faces a fraught challenge to sign Carlo Ancelotti’s “very talented” transfer target, SSC Napoli’s highly sought-after Fabian Ruiz.
According to reports in Spain, Ancelotti intends to rediscover Everton’s early season form with a January raid on Napoli in hopes of reuniting with another of his former players in Fabian, after witnessing the successful adaptations of Allan and James Rodriguez to the Premier League.
Ancelotti was awash with praise for Fabian during his time at the San Paolo Stadium and has even contacted the Spaniard to discuss a potential move to Goodison Park, which the 24-year-old is not thought to have been opposed to.
Fabian is considered an untouchable aspect of Gennaro Gattuso’s plans in Naples yet remains a winter target for Everton after rejecting offers to renew his contract, as the 8-cap international considers exploring a new challenge just two-and-a-half-years on from leaving Real Betis.
Everton could face a strong line of competition, however, as La Liga giants FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid all hold a strong interest in Fabian, who the Express claimed was also an option for Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern Munich this summer but they all faced a staggering £74million asking price.
Jurgen Klopp had been keen to pip the growing swarm of interested parties before ultimately signing Thiago Alcantara, with Fabian’s Napoli future becoming increasingly uncertain after his agent Alvaro Torres confirmed the Betis product was reluctant to discuss a new contract after a muddled campaign which saw Gattuso replace Ancelotti at the helm.
Fabian enjoyed the best days of his career so far under Ancelotti, scoring eight goals and penning five assists in 59 appearances across all competitions. He has since netted three and assisted five in 36 games under Gattuso, who has relied on the 6 ft 2 maestro to start all six possible Serie A fixtures thus far this term.
The level of interest in Fabian’s services and Napoli’s expected asking price would make any move by Everton this January a fraught challenge for their Director of Football Brands to overcome, especially as his Italian outfit have no urgent need to sell.
Fabian is under contract at the San Paolo through to the summer of 2023 and Napoli will be well-aware that the clutch of clubs keen on his services will ensure their valuation remains high far into his current terms.
But in a boost for Everton, reports in Spain claim that the Toffees are the most likely destination for the 24-year-old, as the Merseyside outfit can improve his current salary and present an ambitious sporting project as they strive to secure European football.
Ancelotti’s past relationship with the central midfielder can also play a key role in advancing the Blues’ standing, with the Italian a keen admirer having noted in 2019 via Napoli’s official website: “Fabian can play various roles and must certainly grow in many aspects. He is young and very talented.
“He must have fewer breaks and must gradually be inserted into the heart of the team. Compared to Marek [Hamsik], he has a different vision of the game but certainly greater penetration.”
Fabian responded to Ancelotti’s comments by recording his most creative Serie A campaign last season with six assists in 33 games and he is currently averaging 1.5 key balls and 1.5 shots per match this term as he registers 86.2 touches, 67.2 accurate passes, 4.5 duels won and 0.8 successful dribbles (83%), per SofaScore.
With Ancelotti keen and Fabian seemingly open to a move to Goodison Park, it only remains to be seen if Brands can unearth the funds needed to complete a raid on Napoli this winter.
AND in other news, Carlo Ancelotti is urging Everton to sign a “magnificent player” this winter.