Napoli don’t seem to have high expectations for Natan (22), who was brought in to replace Kim Min-jae (27, Bayern Munich).
Fabiano Santacroce (37), who played for Napoli from 2008 to 2011, claimed in an interview with Sport Italia on Tuesday (June 10) that Natan is not a replacement for Kim Min-jae.
Natan, who officially joined Napoli on July 7, played for Red Bull Bragançinho (Brazil). This season will be his European debut. The transfer fee was only about 10 million euros (about KRW14.5 billion). This is cheaper than the 18 million euros (about 261 million won) that Kim Min-jae paid when he joined from Fenerbahçe (Turkiye).
Natan, who signed a five-year contract with Napoli, stands at 6-foot-2 and is a fast runner.
He has been compared to Kim Min-jae in terms of physical appearance. He is expected to play alongside Amar Rahmani, João Jesus, and Leo Oustegor in Napoli’s center back line.
Locals are hoping that Natan will be the replacement for Kim Min-jae. Kim joined Napoli as an unknown, but was a key part of the club’s first Serie A title in 33 years. His departure to Bayern Munich cost Napoli €50 million in transfer fees.
Napoli have kept almost all of last season’s squad, with the exception of Luciano Spalletti and Kim Min-jae. If Natan can play a role of Kim’s caliber, Napoli will be hoping to win their second consecutive Serie A title.
Santacroce, a fellow Brazilian, called Nathan’s signing a “great signing” but added: “I don’t think Nathan should be considered a replacement for Kim Min-jae. The reason is very simple.”
“It’s the simple fact that there are no players of Kim’s caliber at the moment,” Santacroce said, adding that “he’s a great prospect who should be given enough time to adapt to the Italian league and develop slowly.”
When Kim joined Napoli, he was touted as a replacement for Kalidou Koulibaly (32, Al Hilal), who was considered one of the best defenders in the world. The pressure was on, but Kim steadily showed his quality.
In the end, Kim won the title with Napoli. At the same time, he was recognized as the best defender in Serie A. He was considered to have surpassed Koulibaly, and big clubs were interested in him.
Santa Croce will be hoping that their junior won’t have the pressure of replacing him. Nathan hasn’t even been capped by Brazil yet. As a result, he will have to compete with Jeju and Östigor for a spot in the starting lineup, with the exception of Rahmani. 먹튀검증