Manchester United are reportedly pursuing a summer deal to bring Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly over to the Premier League.
Manchester United are still in the transfer market for a top-class central defender. Transfer Market Web report that the target could well be Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly. United are exploring options in the current market to shore up their back line for the next season after Jose Mourinho feels the defence somewhat let him down.
Kalidou Koulibaly, on the other hand, is looking to move away from Napoli in the summer and is likely looking for a new career challenge. His performances for Napoli has been enough to attract the attention of many top clubs, especially from the Premier League and Manchester United are the latest in the queue.
Manchester United have so far confirmed the signing of right-back Diogo Dalot from Porto and central midfielder Fred from Shakhtar in the last few weeks, but they look far from done in the window. A swoop for Koulibaly would go a long way in addressing their defensive issues of which Mourinho is aware of.
The links to Koulibaly come after Mourinho’s last two centre-back signings have failed to make a mark at Old Trafford. Eric Bailly had a brilliant maiden season at Manchester United and was the first-choice up until his injury. The Ivory Coast international has failed to regain his place in the starting eleven since returning from injury.
Victor Lindelof on the other hand, was touted to be the long-term partner for Eric Bailly. But, both of them failed to start together in games. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling were starting ahead of the duo by the end of the season, and thus Mourinho sees Koulibaly as a viable upgrade to his defence.
Koulibaly, currently playing with Senegal at the World Cup, will be relishing the prospect of joining Manchester United, considering it would be a significant upgrade to his current employers, Napoli. The central defender has been a revelation in Naples since moving to the club in 2014 from Genk in a £6.5 million deal.
Ever since, he has established himself as one of the most excellent central defenders in Europe, thus attracting a lot of attention from Premier League clubs. Napoli have thus far acknowledged this interest and slapped an €80 million price tag on their prized asset, making it kind of tricky for top clubs to want to stump out that kind of amount.
Manchester United, however, are in an excellent position to land him given their financial situation and the genuine need for a top-class centre-back. They, however, will end up paying upwards of £70 million if they are to pursue him. Last season the Napoli defender was close to joining Chelsea in a 60 million deal.
He certainly will shore up the United back line, but any deal would depend on Napoli signing a timely replacement, considering any decision on his future will have to wait until after the World Cup.
There could also be the case that Napoli even increase their asking price if Koulibaly has a good World Cup. But if United do sign him, they will inevitably have to come close to breaking the transfer record for a defender.