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Khvicha Kvaratskhelia: Napoli’s Starboy

Brought on to complement Hirving Lozano and Victor Osimehn, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is enjoying a buzzing start to life at his new club, earning praise and accolades from the football world.

Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, and Matek Hamsik formed a formidable attack for the Napoli side in previous years. Losing them in a recent transfer with Lorenzo Insigne to Toronto FC on a free transfer while all-time leading scorer Dries Mertens, a key fixture within the squad for nine seasons, joined Galatasaray after his contract in Naples, leaving Napoli with a herculean task in replacing them. 

Sought-after defender Kalidou Koulibaly who has always been on the radar of top teams opted to leave the Italian club despite managerial and administrative roles promised by the club’s president if the Senegalese opted to remain with the club.

The 31-year-old opted to leave Naples and joined Chelsea on a four-year deal to the annoyance of the club’s president whose statements were subject to criticism.

“I told them, lads, don’t talk to me about Africans anymore!” said De Laurentiis during a streamed event. “I love them, but either they sign something confirming they’ll back out of playing the Africa Cup of Nations, or otherwise between that tournament, and the World Cup qualifiers in South America, these players are never available!”

It is, however, no news that like-for-like replacements at club levels can be a hit or miss, as seen in Eden Hazard’s Real Madrid case or with the club tempted to splash in the market out of panic.

The Italian outfit, after intense scouting, opted for the signature of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia popularly tagged the “Georgian Messi” – an investment whose stock seems to have risen.


Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s Style Of Play

Naturally a left winger, the Georgian is also capable of featuring anywhere along Napoli’s attack. Kvaratskhelia is a speedy creative force capable of getting into dangerous positions and playing deadly final balls.

Happy to feature on either flank, he enjoys the liberty to move infield, out wide, and into positions between the lines to receive passes providing multiple options and spaces for his fellow attackers to run.

Kvaratskhelia possesses brilliant ball control, gravity, and a successful rate when isolated from defenders with his trickery and dribbling abilities. Capable of either cutting inside and taking the shot for glory all by himself or providing assists to his teammates, the Georgian has racked up seven goals and seven assists across all competitions this season.

Defenders’ inability to anticipate Kvaratskhelia’s movement highlights his ability to make decisions within split seconds while also scanning for opportunities.

Given how much output he offers in attack, he is always out of position when not in possession but covers for it with his enthusiastic pressing and charges that suit Napoli’s style of play.

Napoli now possesses a bunch of threatening attackers, including the newly signed duo Giancomo Raspadori and Giovanni Simeone. They are providing some much-needed firepower from out wide, the center, and also supported by their energetic midfield and their tireless defense.

There is still room for improvement, and more goals are still needed as Napoli is on the hunt to secure their first scudetto since 1990.

 
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