Napoli chairman Aurelio de Laurentiis has declared that only three clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain – can afford to sign Kalidou Koulibaly this window.
The world class centre-back has long been linked with a move away from Naples, after carving out a reputation as one of the world’s best defenders over the past few years.
Gli Azzurri have placed an £80m price tag on his head with De Laurentiis insisting that the 29-year-old will not be sold for anything less than an exceptional offer.
“You don’t have to ask me if Koulibaly will play for Napoli again. You have to ask Manchester United, Manchester City and PSG. They are the teams who can afford to pay certain amounts today,” said the Napoli president (via the Metro).
“I see many buzzards on the transfers market – you know who they are, they seem to be waiting to swoop in, but we have impenetrable armour and they’ll not get what they want or at the prices they want.”
United already splashed out a world record fee on fellow centre-back Harry Maguire last summer but they could still move for Koulibaly. For now, sealing a deal for Jadon Sancho is believed to be their priority, a player they have had their eye on since September 2019.
The Red Devils also had a €25m offer for Monaco defender Benoit Badiashile rejected recently, who is considered a far cheaper alternative to Koulibaly.
Their City rivals have also recently recruited a central defender in Nathan Aké but are thought to be on the lookout for another one. John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi both endured poor runs of form last season and Koulibaly could be the man to tighten things up at the back.
Were he to arrive at the Etihad, he’d likely be first choice alongside Aymeric Laporte – leaping £40m signing Aké with a watching brief from the substitutes bench.