Napoli president: Hamsik not for sale

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has issued a hands-off warning to Manchester United regarding their reported interest in midfielder Marek Hamsik.

The Slovakian World Cup star – dubbed as an ideal replacement for Paul Scholes – is believed to have been a target for Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer transfer window, with the Red Devils said to be keen to seal the deal in January.

De Laurentiis is having none of it, however, and states that he regards the idea of Hamsik moving to Old Trafford as laughable. 

"When I read about a €40 million offer from Ferguson for two of our players I almost started to laugh," he told Radio Marte.

"We have to stand up a compact team which above all has heart. There is no point talking about exciting names.

"There was a player who left Italy for another team for a mega sum and now he is back in Italy for much less.

 You don't have to spend to expand and become invincible."

Ferguson will have been hoping to reinforce his squad in order to provide backup for star players Scholes and Ryan Giggs, who will be hanging up their boots in the not-too-distant future.

Reoccurring injuries to other central midfield players such as Owen Hargreaves and Anderson means that Ferguson can no longer rely on having a fully fit core of the team.

Slovakian captain Hamsik has enjoyed his three years at Serie A side Napoli so far, twice winning the Slovak Young Footballer of the Year award along with scooping the club’s top goal scorer gong in consecutive years.

By Elliott Binks