Barcelona are on the lookout for a solid center-half to boost their backline in the summer as Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly re-emerges as their No.1 target.
Recruiting a proven center-back has been on the agenda for Barcelona as they continue their search for an ideal candidate to shore up their backline for many seasons to come. Don Balon are now reporting that Barcelona are set to re-ignite their long-standing interest in Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, although the defender will not come cheap.
Barcelona have been heavily linked with a move for Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt for quite some time now, but the Catalans have their doubts regarding the young star’s complete profile. The club does believe in the talent the Dutchman possesses, but are unsure if he is the finished product to shore up their back line.
In that scenario, Barcelona want a center-half who is an experienced, reliable defender and Koulibaly ticks all boxes. The Senegal defender has been high on the agenda of Barcelona and other big clubs across the Premier League, but Napoli have so far shown grit to ensure he remains at the San Paulo.
Manchester United were recently linked, and Napoli had reportedly rejected a massive £80 million bid for the defender. This effectively means the defender might cost more than that sum, as Napoli President feels Koulibaly at least commands £90 million for his services.
It remains to be seen if Barcelona will be willing to go to that length to secure the Senegalese’ signing, but concerning the required profile for a defender, Koulibaly certainly fits the bill. However, any deal or the defender will have to wait until the summer, as Napoli will certainly not entertain anything during the winter window.
In the summer, any deal for Koulibaly will not be simple. There will be many more clubs like Chelsea, who have been linked with the star for many seasons now, as well as Manchester United, who could all come back with renewed interest in the 27-year-old center back.
On the other hand, it is understood that Koulibaly feels his time in Naples is coming to an end and is indeed at the right age to take up a fresh challenge in another league. Additionally, reports suggest that he might be more interested in a move to Barcelona than any other suitor.
Barcelona do have some problems at the back, with the likes of Clement Lenglet, having signed during the summer, has been unconvincing for large periods, and Pique who is reaching the twilight of his glittering career. The other reliable option for the Catalans, Samuel Umtiti is injured but has been a trusted player since he signed from Lyon.
Only the summer will tell the complete story of these links with Koulibaly. However, to bring the defender to the Camp Nou, Barcelona need to splash the cash as Napoli will not budge for anything less than their asking price for a player who is tied down to a long-term contract at the club.