Perhaps £40m for Brighton and Hove Albion striker Neal Maupay isn't so ridiculous after all
Napoli were linked with a £40m January transfer move for Brighton and Hove Albion striker Neal Maupay
It has been dismissed - and probably rightly so - as "noise" that surrounds all clubs at this crazy time of year.
But it does beg the question: How much is Neal Maupay worth and if the bid was genuine, would Brighton be tempted to part with a striker they snapped up for £16m just six short months ago?
A return of £24m in less than a year would certainly tempt those who have to balance the books - particularly as Brighton reported losses of £21.2m for 2018/19 season. A healthy profit on Maupay would clear that in one swoop, with a few shekels left over.
The French-born striker has seven Premier League goals so far and hit the target 28 times in all competitions last season for Brentford.
At 23, Mauapy has plenty of scope for improvement and fits Brighton's general transfer policy of buying younger players - such as Leandro Trossard and Adam Webster - with enormous potential for around the £20m mark.
A couple of good seasons at the top level is hugely beneficial for the club on the pitch, while elsewhere the money men will be hoping their possible sell-on value sky rockets. Especially if you consider Newcastle paid £40m for Joelinton and West Ham parted with £45m for Sébastien Haller.
It's a business model that makes sense and - if the recruitment is correct - it can sustain a club in the Premier League, while at the same time making healthy profits. Southampton have been doing it for years.
It has caused Saints fans many anxious moments as at times they have flirted with relegation but they continue to hold their own in the Premier. Brighton state they have loftier ambitions than to merely tread water at the top level and aim to establish themselves as a top 10 club.
That would surely mean refusing the first big offer that comes in for the likes of Maupay - as they did for Lewis Dunk last season.
Nobody at the club today took the Maupay gossip seriously and it would indeed seem very odd to see him depart so soon.
The striker, who is eligible to play for France or Argentina, could easily go on to get between 10-15 goals this season. He copes well with the physical demands and is pretty fiery on the pitch.
He does not have blistering pace but is certainly fast enough to cause problems and at times this season his finishing has been excellent.
Under Graham Potter, he is playing in a team that likes to create chances and the head coach has trusted him to lead the line. So much so Florin Andone and Jurgen Locadia were allowed to depart on loan and Glenn Murray - Albion's top scorer for the past two seasons - has hardly featured.
If Maupay can get to 15 this campaign, and then match that again next season, £40m may not seem so ridiculous after all - it may even be quite cheap.