Napoli, loading up to dethrone Juve, sign defensive rock Manolas

Andy Edwards
NBC Sports

Napoli have seen enough of Juventus waltzing their way to Serie A title after Serie A title — eight straight of them, to be specific — and Carlo Ancelotti’s side appear hellbent on doing everything in their power to end their nearly decade-long reign.

[ MORE: Saturday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

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On Saturday, Napoli, who have finished second behind Juve three of the last four seasons, announced their $41-million signing of Roma defender Kostas Manolas, one of the Italian league’s most consistent performers the last few seasons. Not only is Napoli’s squad strengthened by the addition, but Roma’s squad is weakened by the subtraction.

Manolas, 28, made more than 200 appearances in five seasons at Roma.

Following the arrival of James Rodriguez last month, Napoli clearly believe they can close the gap, which finished at 11 points last season, on Juve and make a legitimate title challenge.

[ MORE: Matthijs de Ligt left off Ajax roster for start of preseason ]

The only problem is: while Napoli have made a large signal of intent by signing Manolas, Juve appear set to make a gigantic move for Matthijs de Ligt, one of the highest rated prospects to play the same position in quite some time.

It’ll be an uphill battle, as always, but Napoli aren’t shying away from the challenge.

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