Sander Berge: The man behind Napoli's interest in the Sheffield United star
Cristiano Giuntoli, Napoli’s long-serving sporting director, is the man responsible for resurrecting their interest in Sander Berge as Sheffield United lay the groundwork for the Norway international’s departure.
Berge appeared destined for the San Paolo 17 months ago, before United took advantage of the Italian’s procrastination to strike a deal with Genk for the 23-year-old.
Although the lure of Premier League football also influenced Berge’s decision, combined with the fact he knew he would be a regular starter at Bramall Lane, United’s relegation from the top-flight last term means he is now seeking a move away from South Yorkshire.
According to one leading newspaper in Italy, that has persuaded Napoli to try their luck again - although like Arsenal, who are also keen on Berge, they are unwilling to meet United’s valuation.
Rather than Luciano Spalletti, who took charge in Campania following Gennaro Gattuso’s departure towards the end of last month, Giuntoli is thought to be behind Napoli’s latest attempt to capture Berge.
Appointed in 2015, the 48-year-old is one of president Aurelio de Laurentiis’ most trusted advisors and, together with the film producer, ultimately responsible for identifying transfer targets.
Despite refusing to publicly confirm their position, United resolved to sell Berge when it became clear they were heading back to the Championship.
However, as they look to increase the funding set to be placed at new manager Slavisa Jokanovic’s disposal, United’s efforts to do business have so far been frustrated by the refusal of potential purchasers to accept their asking price.
Jokanovic is scheduled to begin work on July 1, when his contract with Al-Gharafa expires.