Arsenal’s hopes of signing Italy winger Lorenzo Insigne have been dealt a huge blow after Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis revealed that the Gunners will need to pay up to £56 million to secure the 23-year-old’s services this summer.
It was reported last week that Arsenal were preparing a £17 million offer - but Arsene Wenger’s valuation of the diminutive forward falls well short of Napoli’s asking price.
“€20m for Insigne I smiled about that,” De Laurentiis is quoted as telling reporters by the Daily Star. “Lorenzo’s evaluation is nearer €60m or €70m.”
A €70 million fee would equate to almost £57 million - a fee Arsenal will almost certainly regard as unrealistic. For that price, Wenger would be expecting to sign one of the world’s most revered footballers, but Tottenham-target Insigne is some way off that level at this stage in his career. In 26 Serie A appearances last season, he netted just two goals.
Insigne's agent Antonio Ottaiano has already warned the Gunners that they face an uphill battle to convince Napoli into selling the winger.
"We are honoured that a club like Arsenal could have Lorenzo on their wish list,” he commented. “However, from here to take it to the next level, that is a possible transfer, there is a huge mountain in between named Napoli."
Wenger, though, has up to £100 million to spend on new players this summer and might be tempted to splash a significant portion of his summer transfer budget on Insigne. The veteran French coach, who recently extended his contract at the Emirates Stadium for another three years, has also been linked with moves for Real Sociedad winger Antoine Griezmann and QPR’s versatile forward Loic Remy.