Championship side Fulham were demanding €20m for Cameroonian midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa just a matter of days before allowing him to join Napoli on loan with a £9m option to buy.
This is according to journalist Ciro Venerato who spoke to Naples-based station Radio Kiss Kiss on the 26-year-old’s move to the Serie A side, with a move away from Craven Cottage looking like happening for weeks.
The central midfielder handed in a transfer request in early August, prior to the Cottagers’ opening league game of the season against Middlesbrough.
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As per The Athletic, Anguissa stated his desire not to play in the Championship following Marco Silva’s side’s relegation from the top flight last season, finishing 18th but a whopping 11 points adrift of Burnley in 17th.
The 26-year-old was dropped for their opening game against Neil Warnock’s side – but returned to the first-team fold and was on the bench last weekend for their game against Stoke City.
He was an unused substitute in that game after being overtaken by the likes of Harrison Reed, Josh Onomah and Jean Michael Seri in the pecking order, potentially foreshadowing yesterday’s loan exit from the club.
Speaking about the transfer negotiations between the midfielder’s parent club Fulham and new team Napoli, Ciro Venerato said to Radio Kiss Kiss (quotes via areanapoli.it): “It was a great coup by (Cristiano) Giuntoli, because his home team, Fulham, until a few days ago was asking for twenty million euros to sell the strong Cameroon midfielder.
“But then no offers arrived and the boy’s agent called Giuntoli and opened the solution proposed by the Neapolitan club (Napoli).”
The Cameroonian signed a one-year contract extension before heading out to Italy, enabling the Cottagers to maximise their profit on their wantaway midfielder if Napoli decide against taking up the permanent option in his loan agreement.
To be able to negotiate a deal for a reported £9m instead of €20m (£17.2m) is some achievement – but it seems like Anguissa was continuing to push for a move away in the final days of the window – putting Fulham in a more difficult position at the negotiating table.
If the 26-year-old was committed to the cause at Craven Cottage, they would have easily been able to ask for a substantial eight-figure fee with two years (now three) left on his deal in west London.
And considering how Marco Silva has been willing to work with Jean Michael Seri, it wouldn’t even have been any surprise to see the Cottagers retain their star man in the middle of the park, even after agreeing a £12m deal for Liverpool’s Harry Wilson.
His departure is inevitably a blow for a club looking to get back to the Premier League at the first time of asking – but they have managed to bring in a very capable replacement with Nathaniel Chalobah arriving on a permanent deal from Watford yesterday.
If this moves out and the likes of Onomah, Reed and Seri all wish to stay, Anguissa could potentially be deemed surplus to requirements at Craven Cottage on his return next summer.