Napoli set to sign Croatia left-back Ivan Strinic

Croatia left-back Ivan Strinic has said he expects to complete a move to Napoli from Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.

Strinic, 27, is set to join the Serie A club on a free transfer with his contract in the Ukraine expiring at the end of 2014.

"It looks like I am going to end up at Napoli and, if all goes well, and I really think it will do, I will be able to sign as soon as possible," Strinic told Sportske Novosti.

Inter and Juventus were also reported to be interested in Strinic, but the defender said he is happy to take on the "huge challenge" of playing for Napoli and said he was "especially pleased" to have the chance to work under coach Rafa Benitez.

Napoli are also closing in on the signing of Manolo Gabbiadini from Sampdoria.

The Italy forward is expected in Naples in the coming days to undergo a medical before completing his move to Campania as soon as the transfer window opens in Italy on Jan. 5.

Both players will strengthen a side aiming for at least a top-three finish in Serie A this season and preparing to mount a sustained challenge in the Europa League.

Strinic would arrive with the approval of former Napoli coach Eduardo Reja, who was his coach at Hajduk Split.

"To tell the truth, he would have been the first name I would have asked for if I had been offered a job at any club these days," Reja told Il Corriere dello Sport. "I knew that his contract was expiring in December and I've always been looking for naturally left-footed defenders ever since I was at Napoli five years ago and had to improvise.

"He's a fantastic player, gifted with great technique and an equally good physical strength, while he is more attack-minded than he is defensive. If Napoli do get him, it would really be a great signing for them."

Strinic could provide immediate cover for Faouzi Ghoulam, who will be away for most of January at the African Nations Cup, although the Croatian said it will take him "some time to get back full match fitness" after having recently been sidelined with injury.