Loved by the Liverpool fans; loathed by Chelsea fans – despite him turning around their fortunes last season giving them a top four finish and a European Trophy, Rafael Benitez has landed the top job at Napoli following Walter Mazzarri’s departure to the bright lights of the San Siro and Internazionale.

Benitez a former Inter manager himself did not have the best stay in Milan winning the World Club cup and to be honest not doing much-else, I’m sure he would agree with that himself.

So it’s safe to say that I was a little bit miffed when Benitez was named as Mazzarri’s successor at the San Paolo. Not because of him being a poor manager which he is most definitely not, just the fact that the Napoli top-brass Aurelio De Laurentiis has taken a gamble appointing Benitez to replace such a loved figure among the Napoli fans as Mazzarri. It shows that the owner is willing to stand or fall by the Spaniard.

Yet the beginning of the reign for Rafa in Naples hasn’t been an easy one, his 4-2-3-1 system which he favours is much of a contrast to the 3-5-2 of Mazzarri, he will have to get the players onside very quickly and used to his differing methods and slightly more defensive ways than of his predecessor.

Cavani sold to PSG for €64m

Like Mazzarri’s last summer in Naples Benitez has lost the star man of his side Edinson Cavani to the riches of Qatari owned PSG, he will be a major loss being Napoli’s main goal threat for the past three years and adored by the fans.  Also he has lost long-time number one Morgan De Sanctis to Roma.

Higuain the replacement for Cavani

On-to the recruits and so far Napoli have been one of the most exciting sides to follow in the market, the most Intriguing is the three players signed from Real Madrid; Gonzalo Higuain who is the replacement for Cavani it would seem, Raul Albiol, will help plug the leaky defence and Jose Callejon will give them good width and pace and provide a goal-threat too. Two ‘keepers have been signed Rafael the highly rated youngster from Santos and Benitez’s old Liverpool buddy Pepe Reina on loan from Liverpool, and lastly so far the Belgian flying machine Dries Mertins from PSV Eindhoven like Callejon he will provide good width, and goal-threat from the left. These signings added to the impressive quality already at Napoli with the likes of Marek Hamsik Lorenzo Insigne and Gohkan Inler. Rafa and his much loved rotation policy will have much quality to choose from as he juggles the squad to compete in 3 competitions.

I think Napoli again will be fighting Juventus for the Scudetto and this time it may be a lot closer than the eight point gap of last season. Winning the Copa Italia is not out of the question yet we will have to find out how important Benitez treats the competition, The Champions League right now with the rest of Europe strengthening their squads I fancy Napoli to get to the last 16 as a minimum and maybe last 8 depending on the kindness of the draw. De Laurentiis is taking this gamble it may end up being a fruitful one with a manager who wants to re-invent his reputation in the Italian game.

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