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Napoli sign Spain defender Raul Albiol from Real Madrid

Jul 21, 2013, 2:50 PM EDT

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Napoli have landed another big fish in the summer transfer market.

Today the Serie A club announced the signing of Spain defender Raul Albiol from Real Madrid. Napoli made the announcement through their website, saying: “The 27-year-old Spanish defender arrives from Real Madrid and has signed a four-year contract.”

The player’s transfer fee has not been revealed although Italian media have reported it to be in the range of $15.8 million (€12m).

The move for Albiol is yet another sign of Napoli’s desire to strengthen the squad following strong domestic and Champions League campaigns. Last week the club sold its prized asset, Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, and collected a fee of $84 million (€64m) for his services.

With their pockets laced the club immediately launched into a buying spree purchasing Albiol’s former Real teammate Jose Callejon. Shortly thereafter Napoli secured a loan-deal for Liverpool goal-keeper Pepe Reina after talks on a similar deal for Queens Park Rangers goal-keeper Julio Cesar hit a snag.

With Reina in tow, Partenopei have managed to strengthen their defense by acquiring Albiol, who was limited to 18 appearances for Madrid last season.

Despite a lack of consistent playing time under Jose Mourinho, Albiol has managed to keep his place with the Spanish National Team, where he has secured 40 appearances since 2007.

Albiol’s transfer to Napoli will be a reunion of sorts as the 27 year old links back up with Rafa Benitez, who managed Valencia from 2001-2004 when a teenaged Albiol was playing for the club’s B side.
At Napoli, Albiol is expected to slot into the right back spot for the departed Hugo Campagnaro, who left the club for Inter Milan earlier this summer.
So who’s the next target for Napoli club president Aurelio De Laurentiis?
Another Madrid player, Gonzalo Higuain.

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