Benitez: Napoli are chasing Jorginho

The Partenopei coach admitted the Verona midfielder is a January transfer target and discussed his side’s upcoming Coppa Italia clash against Atalanta
Napoli boss Rafael Benitez has confirmed his side are following the progress of Verona star Jorginho, with a view to making a move to sign him.

The Partenopei have seen their attempts to sign €17 million-rated Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons fall through this month and are now setting their sights on the 22-year-old Brazilian midfielder.

Jorginho, who played the full 90 minutes as Verona lost 3-0 at home to Benitez’s men on Sunday, has scored seven goals this season and impressed as his side make a surprise run into contention for a European place.

"Jorginho is a player we have been following for a long time,” Benitez told Radio Kiss Kiss.

“I have full confidence in the work of our sporting director Riccardo Bigon. He has always done well and we are working together at 100 per cent. We did some good things in the transfer market last summer.

“Of course, we would prefer to sign Italian players in the transfer market as the adaptation period is easier. We are looking but it is not always easy to get the best Italian players to join Napoli.”

Jorginho was linked with a move to Fiorentina earlier in January, although Viola coach Vincenzo Montella has since moved to play down reports of an imminent move.

Benitez went on to talk about his side’s Coppa Italia tie against Atalanta on Wednesday and is hoping to extend a strong run of seven matches without a defeat.

He said: “Against Verona the team did a great job. We showed quality, personality and character.

“The match against Atalanta is one of those that we cannot make the mistake of taking for granted - we have to be careful but we have the quality to win.”

The Napoli coach also confirmed that midfielder Marek Hamsik, who has been out of action through injury since the loss against Parma on November 23, will make his comeback in the knockout tie after being an unused substitute against Verona.

Benitez added: “Hamsik has now fully recovered. He will play – I will just have to decide whether to play him from the start or bring him on during the match.

“I will try to provide opportunities to some of the players who have not played too much up to now against Atalanta.”