Although transfer rumors have slowed down during the Euros, they haven’t entirely stopped. The latest involves, you guessed it, an out-of-favor Tottenham Hotspur midfielder: it seems Nabil Bentaleb is wanted by Napoli. This appears to be news. It is probably not.
I first saw this rumor in the Daily Mail, which references the always helpful “sources in Italy." But since you never trust the Mail as a primary source, further investigation is warranted. A trip down the Italian transfer rumor rabbit hole eventually led me to GianlucaDiMarzio.com, which appears to be the originator of the rumor.
So what does it say? Well, not much.
Altro giovane, seppure leggermente più grande dei primi due, nell'orbita azzurra è Nabil Bentaleb, terzo prospetto che andrebbe a ringiovanire ulteriormente il Napoli. A 21 anni, l'algerino, centrocampista del Tottenham, ha già maturato un buon bottino di presenze in Premier League, dopo esser sbocciato nel Lille, dove ha trascorso la sua adolescenza dal 2004 al 2009.
Run this through the Google machine and you get, essentially, the author suggesting that Bentaleb might be a decent pick-up for Napoli as they try and snap up some young talent. That’s it. No quotes, no prices, no sources, no evidence of any contact between the clubs.
DiMarzio – who didn’t actually write this article, one of his staffers did – isn’t the worst of the Italian rumor media mongers. He gets some things right and other things hilariously wrong, which is true of most outlets. The best way to think of him is that he takes the scattergun approach to reporting transfer rumors, and frankly, I'm thinking this particular pellet has flown well wide of the mark.
That said, it’s not at all out of the realm of possibility that Bentaleb could be sold this summer. Even though he had an extremely unfortunate season that saw him miss much of the season through injury, he didn’t look especially great in his few appearances for Spurs, and scuttlebutt from the club suggests that he could be moved on for the right price and to the right club.
Is that club Napoli? I suppose it COULD be, but the evidence linking the two clubs is tenuous at best, and downright fictional at worst. Napoli would be a pretty good club for Bentaleb to end up at, but he might find it as difficult to get playing time behind the likes of Marek Hamsik and Jorginho as he would at Spurs.
That said, he’d be playing with Vlad Chiriches again, and that’d be fun.
In short: for now, don’t hold your breath.