Fulham midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa has been key in pushing through what looks to be an imminent loan-to-buy move to Serie A side Napoli, according to a report from Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness).
The Cameroonian made it clear to Fulham officials before the opening day of the Championship season that he wished to leave Craven Cottage this summer, following their relegation from the Premier League.
This bombshell led to the 26-year-old being left out of the first-team squad in favour of the likes of Harrison Reed, Josh Onomah and Jean Michael Seri, with the latter adapting well to life under new manager Marco Silva after previously looking set for the exit door.
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Anguissa has recently been recalled to the first-team squad but with the midfielder completing his medical yesterday ahead of a loan move with an option to buy for £9m, his move to Naples is all but complete.
However, the 26-year-old was not the Italian club’s first-choice according to Gazzetta dello Sport, who say they failed in their pursuit of Sheffield United’s Sander Berge and Saint-Etienne’s Zaydou Youssouf and had to settle for their third priority in Anguissa.
23-year-old Berge has recently tested positive for Covid-19, all but ending his hopes of a move with the Blades unwilling to negotiate a deal worth less than his £35m release clause earlier in the summer.
But Championship rivals Fulham were willing to come to negotiating table, with Anguissa’s willingness to come to Italy said to be key in striking this deal.
Considering how desperate he reportedly was to leave Craven Cottage before the end of the window, it’s no surprise to hear that he was pushing for a move to a Napoli side that are likely to be competing at the top end of the Italian first division.
With the potential of playing European football as well, this was probably a deal that was too good for Anguissa to reject even with the likely prospect of Fulham returning to the Premier League next season in their current form.
The Cottagers have seemingly prepared well for this departure with Swansea City’s Matt Grimes, Portuguese international William Carvalho and Canadian international Stephen Eustaquio all being heavily linked with a move to Craven Cottage in recent days.
Anguissa’s contract expires in 2023 and with his value likely to depreciate from now on because of this, barring a major upturn in his form, they are unlikely to get more than the reported £9m they have managed to negotiate with Napoli.
He’s also unlikely to be in Fulham’s first-team squad during the 2022/23 campaign, even if they return to the Premier League, after submitting his transfer request. So this move is probably the best for all parties even with the midfielder not initially being at the forefront of their transfer agenda.