Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina has claimed that he has been dropped from the starting XI due to a clause in his loan deal from Arsenal, where the Italian club are required to sign him on a full-time basis after he plays a certain number of games.
The Colombian has made 17 appearances in all competitions this season, but has only played five times in the past two-and-a-half months. This comes after being an almost ever-present at the start of the campaign, and he has now lost his place in the side to youngster Alex Meret.
Speaking to reporters (h/t Squawka) about losing his place in the side, Ospina made it clear that he felt it was because Napoli were unwilling to sign him on a permanent deal at the end of the season:
My current situation is that I am on loan for this season and there is a clause based on a certain number of games, where if I play, the transfer will become an automatic purchase.
When the situation does not depend on me, all I can do is wait for the decision to be made, which in this case is from Napoli. The club had just made a great purchase with Meret, who is a young goalkeeper with a great future, so I knew that when he came, this might happen.
He is a great goalkeeper, and we have a great relationship. I’m sure he will be a very important player in the future.
Napoli signed Meret on loan from Udinese last summer, and he will join on permanent deal for a fee of around €35million at the end of the season. It is unlikely that the club would be unwilling to shell out considerable fees for two goalkeepers, so Ospina's claims may have some truth to them.
Of course, it is also possible that Meret is just better.
With Petr Cech retiring at the end of the season, Ospina could make a return to Arsenal at the end of the season. It is not clear if he would accept a backup role behind Leno, but he certainly does not seem to have a future at Napoli.