The human Vesuvius prepares to erupt

Aurelio De Laurentiis may not have produced as many turkeys as uncle Dino but the movie mogul is certainly overseeing a pig’s ear of his latest project -  Napoli Failing.

The flamboyant owner is a natural risk taker but also prides himself on his business savvy so when his 46million euro investment in new players fails to produce a good return then the chances are he will do a good impression of old Mount Vesuvius.

And like the still-active volcano overlooking the Bay of Naples, De Laurentiis dominates every aspect of the club and just like the southern city he is a man of extremes.

Joyous, passionate and fun-loving one moment, a ball of frustration and coiled with anger the next.

Unfortunately, the turn of the year has seen more top-blowing as coach Edy Reja tip-toes around the dressing room trying to avoid another ear-bashing on why the team’s form has disappeared as quickly as the garbage strewn on the streets, in an ongoing political impasse, has multiplied.

Defeating Juventus 3-1 in front of 60,000 at the San Paolo stadium back in October is now but a distant memory and hopes of a UEFA Cup spot have been replaced by thoughts of survival.

Not only has De Laurentiis turned his irk towards Reja, but he has also questioned the ability of sporting director Pierpaolo Marino to spend those millions wisely.

The 53-year-old has been at the club since the Diego Maradona era and is in charge of transfer policy.

However, apart from Argentine striker Ezequiel Lavezzi, midfielder Walter Gargano and the find of the season Marek Hamšík, the new arrivals have been more bit-players than classy acts.

As a result the A list have struggled to carry the team, with Lavezzi in particular going into hiding more times than Britney Spears before briefly popping his head out to score a couple of cracking goals, as he did against Udinese a few weeks ago.

An out-and-out striker was to have been sought in the January transfer window to replace Marcelo Zalayeta, who despite being the top scorer with seven goals, lumbers around like the monster out of Cloverfield before invariably being replaced by the punch-drunk Roberto Sosa.

An experienced central defender to help out Fabio Cannavaro’s non-football playing brother Paolo was also a priority.

Instead of which, along come journeymen midfielders Michele Pazienza and Daniele Mannini – the former who couldn’t get a kick at Fiorentina and the latter from Serie B side Brescia.

So abject was Sunday’s performance in the 2-0 at Sampdoria that De Laurentiis believes the only way he’ll get bums on the seats for the home game with Empoli is if he halves the ticket prize.

Let’s hope the movie man can still produce a happy ending to this story.

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