NAPLES, ITALY - MARCH 11: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia of SSC Napoli celebrates after scoring the team's ... [+]
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, the Napoli winger that stunned the Italian soccer community throughout the entire 2022/23 campaign, has been awarded the Serie A Most Valuable Player.
At the age of 22, the Georgia international was one of the key players in Napoli’s pursuit of their first league title in 33 years, inevitably drawing attention from Europe’s wealthiest soccer teams.
Now, the Partenopei fans are wondering about the future of one of Europe’s purest young talents.
TOPSHOT - Fans of SSC Napoli celebrate with fireworks on Piazza del Plebiscito on May 4, 2023 in ... [+]
Last summer, when Napoli acquired Kvaratskhelia for a €10 million transfer fee from Georgian side Dinamo Batumi, very few people expected him to be so dominant in his debut campaign.
Kvaratskhelia did not waste any time to impress. In Serie A’s matchday 1, which saw Napoli thrash Hellas Verona 5-2, he scored his side’s equalizer, served a timely assist for Piotr Zielinski’s goal and offered the first glimpse into his phenomenal dribbling skills.
He quickly became a fan favorite, so much so that the Partenopei supporters dubbed him “Kvaradona,” with obvious resonance to Napoli’s most iconic player Diego Armando Maradona.
Kvaratskhelia remarkably managed to keep his performance consistent throughout the 2022/23 Serie A season, as shown by his personal statistics: With one game to spare, he has racked up 12 goals and 10 assists, the most of any player in the league.
His growth is reflected by his market value, which skyrocketed over the last 10 months: Per Transfermarkt estimates, Kvaratskhelia is now valued at €85 million.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia of SSC Napoli and Mohamed Salah of Liverpool FC compete for the ball during ... [+]
Napoli’s dominance in Serie A and run in the UEFA Champions League have not gone unnoticed to Europe’s major clubs, who have added many Partenopei names to their transfer target list.
Due to Kvaratskhelia’s outstanding output on the field, reports continue to link the talented winger with a move abroad to Spain’s Real Madrid or France’s Paris Saint-Germain.
Aside from Kvaratskhelia, the most appealing names in the upcoming transfer window are South Korean center-back Kim Min-jae, who garnered the Serie A Defender of the Year award in his debut season, and center-forward Victor Osimhen, who was named Striker of the Year thanks to an impressive 25-goal tally in the league.
The reigning Serie A champions are also undergoing changes in the technical staff. Head coach Luciano Spalletti has already announced his departure, while sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli is reportedly set to join arch-rivals Juventus.
Napoli's Georgian forward Khvicha Kvaratskhelia celebrates after scoring his side's third goal ... [+]
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of Napoli, the 2022/23 Serie A Most Valuable Player seems to be in for the long haul.
Kvaratskhelia’s current €1.2 million/year contract binds him to Napoli until 2027, but the club aims to revise the deal immediately to shield him from tempting offers that European powerhouses might advance in the summer transfer session.
As reported by Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport, the two parties have entered negotiations to adjust the terms of Kvaratskhelia’s contract by doubling the size of his paycheck, adding larger performance-based bonuses and prolonging the expiry date until 2028.
The next few weeks will tell us more about the future of one of the next decade’s most promising footballers.