£21m star turned down Liverpool and has only played 15 minutes since


Former Napoli hero Salvatore Bagni has a theory about why Jesper Lindstrom has barely kicked a ball in anger since his summer switch from Eintracht Frankfurt to the reigning Serie A champions. 

One which, if it proves to be on the money, poses serious questions about exactly why the Partenopei opted to invest £21 million in a footballer who – in Rudi Garcia’s preferred 4-3-3 system – feels like a skittle in a bowl of MnMs.

“Why doesn’t Jesper Lindstrom play? Because he is not a winger but an attacking midfielder,” Bagni tells Corriere dello Sport. “In the national team (for Denmark) he has played on the left, true, but in a 4-2-3-1.

“At Eintracht, in the 3-4-2-1, he was in ‘the two’ behind the striker. It’s a shame he doesn’t play because he cost 25 million euros. He’s very good. He has technique and plays for the team. But he is different from all the wingers that Napoli have and had in their squad simply because he is not a winger!” 

Since joining Napoli, Lindstrom has played a grand total of 15 minutes from a potential 360. He hasn’t even climbed off the bench for the club’s last three outings, including last week’s 2-1 Champions League victory over Braga.

And the fact that an already under-pressure Garcia opted against turning to Lindstrom when Napoli needed a stroke of inspiration in the weekend’s stalemate at Bologna may have the 23-year-old Dane wondering if he should instead have charged towards Anfield like a bull to Liverpool’s red home kit. 

“There was Liverpool (who wanted to sign me),” Lindstrom told Tipsbladet recently. “But would I get playing time? Would it be smart to go to Liverpool?. I’m a Liverpool fan, so, it would also be an insanely cool experience.

“But if I’m not playing, I might as well sit and watch them on TV for another club. I’m at an age now where I have to play some football.”

It’s ironic really that Lindstrom turned down a dream move to Liverpool due to concerns over his game time, in favour of joining a Napoli side who haven’t even handed him a minute in the last three.

Especially when you consider that one of the advanced ‘number eight’ roles in Klopp’s midfield – ones occupied by Curtis Jones and Dominik Szoboszlai vs West Ham on Sunday – appear well-suited to a player who’s skillset is in danger of being squandered in Italy. 

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