The goalkeeping position at Napoli has been one of mass discussion. There have been multiple candidates for the job with the likes of Bernd Leno and Rui Patricio seemingly being the main targets for Napoli. However, as of late a familiar name has been thrown into the mix, Alex Meret.
The 21-year old is back at Udinese following a successful loan spell at SPAL and has once again been linked to Napoli. While it’d be a very controversial move given the reported fee (around €25 million) and his age, it might actually be a very smart move by the Partenopei.
Alex Meret was born and raised in the city of Udine. The young shot-stopper is a product of the Udinese youth system and was brought up to the senior team in 2015 to play second fiddle to Karnezis. His sole appearance for Le Zebrette came in a Coppa Italia match against Atalanta.
Due to a lack of game time at Udinese, he was sent out on loan to SPAL during their time in Serie B. It was here where Meret established himself as a player too look out for as he helped his side win not only the Serie B title, but promotion to Serie A.
How He’s Been Up to This Point
Following a successful 16/17 season in Serie B (in which he only allowed 39 goals and had 11 clean sheets), Meret was loaned back to SPAL for the club’s first time back in Serie A in 49 years. During the 2017/18 season Meret played 13 games. He split time with Alfred Gomis, however, it was Alex Meret who saw the field in the latter half of the season.
In his first run out in Italy’s top flight he made 49 saves, kept 4 cleans sheets, saved 2 penalties, and was instrumental for SPAL in escaping relegation. Some of his most notable performances include the nil-nil draws with Juventus and Fiorentina.
What He Would Bring to Napoli
At 6’ 3”, Meret is one of the taller goalkeepers in Serie A. His height allows him to come out and punch the ball away from danger, something that Reina was inconsistent in doing. Also, Meret is very acrobatic. He’s the type of goalkeeper who can stretch out and get to the hard to reach balls, and his reaction speed allows him to come up with big saves when needed.
The biggest thing Meret brings to the table, however, is his potential. At just 21 years of age his talent makes him the best young Italian goalkeeper other than Donnarumma. It’s also his youth, though, In addition to the hefty price tag, that makes a potential move worrying. With little Serie A experience under his belt, many wonder whether Meret can handle being the number one keeper at Napoli.
One route Napoli may want to look at taking is loaning Meret in with an option to buy and then bringing in a goalkeeper with more experience. Alphonse Areola of PSG is reportedly wanted by Ancelotti, so bringing both he and Meret in would give Napoli a more secure option in between the sticks, and someone for Meret to learn from. Either way, it’s no doubt that Alex Meret would be a great signing for Napoli.
By Massimo Nuzzo (@sscncentral)