Italian journalist Fabio Santini has revealed to Area Napoli, as reported by Sport Witness, that Napoli centre back Kalidou Koulibaly has ‘asked to leave’ – a request that club president Aurelio De Laurentiis has granted.
This, Santini continues, has resulted in a €120m price tag being slapped on the Senegalese defender. Koulibaly’s admirers are said to be ‘above all in England’, with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City reported to especially ‘like him’. The request made by the player was specifically to leave in the January transfer window, rather than the summer.
It has been a turbulent time at Napoli in recent months, with public disputes between the club’s hierarchy and Carlo Ancelotti and his playing squad dominating the news in Naples. Indeed, Ancelotti was sacked by the board in spite of overseeing a 4-0 victory against Belgian outfit FC Genk in the Champions League on Tuesday evening. Gennaro Gattuso has been named as Ancelotti’s successor. This bitter drama could plausibly have prompted Koulibaly’s decision to seek an exit.
Moreover, as Sport Witness rightly point out, the Napoli hierarchy may be tempted to cash in on Koulibaly while his profile is at it’s peak as the 29-year-old enters the twilight years of his career. However, whether or not City would be prepared to part with such a huge sum in the January window for Koulibaly appears doubtful.
There is no denying that Koulibaly would be a welcome addition to Pep Guardiola’s backline. The Senegal captain has won a place in the Serie A Team of the Year for the past four years running. Koulibaly is blessed with the ideal combination of athletic prowess and composure in possession. A strong tackler, incisive passer and excellent reader of the game, there are only a handful of names who can claim to rival Koulibaly’s suitability for Guardiola’s system.
Time will tell if Manchester City will dip into the January window in an attempt to remedy the side’s defensive issues this season, but if they do, let us hope that Koulibaly is indeed high on the list of potential targets.
You can follow us for live updates here: @City_Xtra