Manchester City are reportedly set to launch a €95 million bid to sign Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, who is also a Manchester United target.
According to a report by Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport, Manchester City are readying a mega offer to land Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer transfer window. The Premier League champions are preparing a €95 million offer for the Napoli defender, who is also being chased by Manchester United.
Koulibaly has created a reputation of being a no-nonsense defender, who is regarded as one of the best in his position across the world. Over the five years he has been with Napoli, the Senegalese centre-back has grown into becoming a key figure for the Partenopei, missing just two games in the last two seasons, when he has been fit and available.
His solid performances at San Paolo have invariably attracted a number of top clubs across Europe, making him one of Europe’s most wanted defenders. Among those who have been tailing him regularly are Manchester United, who also face stiff competition from Manchester City for the 28-year-old.
Manchester United are in the middle of an overhaul that requires specific attention to be paid to defence after their worst ever return in terms of goals conceded in a single Premier League season. With Victor Lindelof the only centre-back who managed to remain consistent for much of the term, the need to sign a centre-back is urgent.
To that end, Manchester United have been linked with a myriad of central defenders over the last few months, with Koulibaly being one of them. But, they now have local rivals Manchester City alongside them in the race to sign him.
The Premier League champions already boast a strong defensive unit. But, the departure of club captain Vincent Kompany has created a huge void at the back, one that can only be filled by a top class centre-back. Koulibaly is thus, a viable target for Manchester City, who can sign a player at the peak of his powers to replace the Belgian.
So far, it has been mooted that Manchester United will have to pay the world record sum for a defender to sign Koulibaly. And, it is Manchester City who have now taken the initiative, with a €95 million bid in the works.
The report does not mention any impending offer from Manchester United and with City able to offer Champions League football, they are likely to be in the driver’s seat. But, what is quite perplexing about the report is that it suggests that Napoli are ready to cash in on Koulibaly.
Gazzetta dello Sport claim that the proceeds from Koulibaly’s sale would be used in the deals to sign James Rodriguez and Kostas Manolas, with the latter likely to be Koulibaly’s replacement. The change in the Partenopei’s stance is indeed surprising after widespread reports had suggested that Aurelio de Laurentiis was not prepared to lose the player this summer.
It now remains to be seen if Napoli do take the decision to sell Koulibaly, once Manchester City table their €95 million bid. What will also be interesting to see if Manchester United decide to counter their bitter rivals with an offer of their own.