Napoli close in on Santos goalkeeper Rafael

According to the player's agent, the 23-year-old's discussion with new Partenopei coach Rafa Benitez was "fundamental" in his decision and a deal is nearly done
Santos goalkeeper Rafael looks set to join Napoli following decisive talks with head coach Rafa Benitez.

The 23-year-old's agent, Paulo Afonso, believes that the promising shot-stopper's destination this summer will be Naples and that a deal will soon be completed.

"The conversation that he had with Rafa Benitez was crucial. [Rafael] has decided, negotiations are moving very well and should be done soon," Afonso told reporters.

As revealed by Goal, Roma had lined up Rafael to succeed Fulham-bound Maarten Stekelenburg but the Brazilian - whose contract runs out in 2014 - looks set to opt for the Serie A side with Champions League football this coming season, with the transfer expected to be worth around €11 million (£9.4m).

The Giallorossi have since turned to QPR and Brazil No.1 Julio Cesar as their top goalkeeping target due to the influence of new coach Rudi Garcia, who wants a more experienced man between the posts.

Rafael has been capped three times for the Selecao senior squad and has so far spent his entire youth and professional career at the Brasileirao giants.