Napoli have reportedly knocked back a €110 million bid by Manchester United for Kalidou Koulibaly over a move in the summer.

According to Gazetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira, Manchester United have received a setback in their pursuit of Kalidou Koulibaly. The Premier League heavyweights have seen their bid worth €110 million being rejected by Napoli, with Aurelio De Laurentiis refusing the sell the world-class defender in the summer transfer window.

Manchester United had their travails in the 2018-19 season and a critical summer transfer window beckons. If they fail to get their squad in a better shape, another long and hard season could beckon them, having already seen the current squad limp to a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League to end a trophy-less season.

Defence remains a major problem area for the Red Devils, who shipped in an astounding 54 goals over the course of their league campaign and kept the fewest clean sheets at home, a record low in the Premier League era for them. The central defenders are a big part of the issue for Manchester United for various reasons.

While Victor Lindelof seems to have earned his place as a first-choice centre-back, the likes of Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling have all done their bit to squander their opportunities, either by performing poorly or due to their frail fitness situations. The heart of the Manchester United defence thus, needs some attention this summer.

To that end, Kalidou Koulibaly, who has been one of the best Serie A defenders in recent seasons, has been identified as the ideal player to add sturdiness to the Manchester United defence. In addition to being an astute defender, the Senegalese is also imposing in the air.

This quality would make him a threat during set-piece situations, another part of their game wherein the Red Devils have left a lot to be desired. Making a move for the Napoli centre-back thus, makes a great deal of sense.

Thumbs up to a future with Napoli. (Photo by Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images)

Thumbs up to a future with Napoli. (Photo by Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images)

But, as per widespread reports, the player would not come cheap, with reports suggesting that Manchester United will have to shell out a world record sum to secure his services. As per Nicolo Schira, the Premier League club seem to be prepared to do the same as well.

The Italian journalist has claimed that United lodged a €110 million bid, which has been swiftly knocked back by Napoli, because club president Aurelio De Laurentiis is unwilling to part ways with the world-class defender this summer.

Schira also stresses that Koulibaly will have a €150 million release clause in his contract. But, the catch is that it does not come into effect until the summer of 2020. With the ball clearly in Napoli’s court this summer, it looks unlikely that the 27-year-old would be moving away from San Paolo anytime before next year at the earliest.

So, as things stand, Manchester United might have to turn their attention away from Koulibaly if they are to bolster the heart of their defence, with their €110 million offer being rejected. It now remains to be seen who they set their sights on, with William Saliba the latest centre-back who has been linked with Manchester United.