By Marco Giordano
Napoli are ready to target Tottenham midfielder Etienne Capoue as the Serie A club's pursuit of January reinforcements intensifies.
Rafael Benitez has endured a frustrating start to the winter transfer window, with Radja Nainggolan completing his move to Roma on Tuesday, while Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas remains adamant that Maxime Gonalons is not for sale, despite receiving a £14.1 million bid from Napoli this week.
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The France international made an immediate impact at Spurs before suffering an ankle injury against Arsenal at the end of August.
Capoue returned to action in November but has since started just four Premier League games and has been shifted between his preferred position in central midfield and having to provide cover at centre-back.
Indeed, despite performing with distinction in Tottenham's 2-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on New Year's Day, the former Toulouse enforcer was overlooked for Saturday's FA Cup defeat at the Emirates Stadium at the expense of teenager Nabil Bentaleb, who was making his full debut.
New manager Tim Sherwood's midfield options are set to be swelled in January should Tom Carroll be recalled, as expected, from a loan spell at QPR, thereby limiting Capoue's chances to impress further.
Benitez invested heavily over the summer, recruiting Real Madrid trio Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Callejon and Raul Albiol, but, despite an impressive start, his side were eliminated from the Champions League and currently sit 10 points behind Serie A pacesetters Juventus.