Manchester United are reportedly preparing to smash the world record transfer fee for a defender, as they plot a summer swoop for Kalidou Koulibaly.
According to a report from The Sun, Manchester United are set to launch a £90 million bid for Napoli and Senegal centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer transfer window, as they seek to beef up their defence ahead of next season.
Manchester United haven’t been solid enough at the back this season. While things have improved under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when compared to their sorry state under Jose Mourinho, the Red Devils continue to be vulnerable at the back, as highlighted in their 0-2 defeat against PSG in the UEFA Champions League.
Apart from Victor Lindelof to a certain extent, none of the other Manchester United defenders have looked solid enough, leaving the club scouring for defensive reinforcements in the upcoming transfer window.
Koulibaly is a name that has been linked with a move to Manchester United for a while now. Reports last month claimed that the 20-time English champions would launch a move for the Senegalese international irrespective of who the manager of the club will be in the summer.
The speculations have now further intensified, as the report from The Sun claims that United boss Solskjaer had sent his chief scout Jim Lawlor to watch the 27-year-old in action when Napoli took on Fiorentina last weekend in Serie A.
The report further adds that the United chief scout came back with glowing reports, which has prompted the club to consider making a £90 million bid for Koulibaly, which would become the highest transfer fee paid for a defender, breaking the current record of £75 million that Liverpool shelled out for Virgil van Dijk in January 2018.
Koulibaly has been with Napoli for over four years now, having joined from Belgian outfit Genk in 2014 and has established himself as one of the best central defenders across Europe. Till date, the 27-year-old man mountain has featured 194 times for Napoli – 30 of which have come in the 2018-19 season – scoring 8 goals and assisting 7 more.
Koulibaly is contracted with the Partenopei till the summer of 2023, but had hinted towards the possibility of a transfer to Manchester United with a cryptic social media comment last month. In a recent interview, the Senegalese admitted to be flattered by the interest he has been receiving.
“I am pleased that many teams follow me. But I want to demonstrate on the field I am at the level of the greatest and I want to show it in the future,” he said, as quoted by The Sun. “I don’t know if I’m one of the strongest defenders in the world. But I always try to give my best.”
Given Manchester United’s struggles at the back, they would stand to benefit immensely with the addition of Koulibaly to their ranks. However, it remains to be seen if they are able to get their hands on the 27-year-old in the summer.