According to reports in Italy, Manchester United submitted a €30 million (£25.9 million) bid for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. United are looking to sign a new centre-back in this transfer window and it is unsure whether they are serious about the move or are using it as a catalyst for Varane’s deal.
The Red Devils have not hidden their intentions of competing for the Premier League trophy this season and are making moves to secure players for the positions that require reinforcements. The centre-back position has been a major concern for several seasons now and is now the club’s top priority after signing Jadon Sancho. The Premier League giants want to sign a new defender who can form a stable partnership with Maguire at the back.
Despite heavy links with Raphael Varane, United have kept their options open with other players like Pau Torres of Sevilla. Now, Koulibaly seems to be a viable alternative as well. The Senegalese centre-back is reportedly unhappy at his present club and is keen on a change in scenery.
At 30, Kalidou Koulibaly is one of the best centre-backs in the world and a key figure for Napoli. The player’s presence is very important, both on the pitch and in the dressing room. He played 25 matches in Serie A last season and recorded a tackle success rate of 73%. The player’s passing skills are also noteworthy, with an average of 69 passes per game, and last season he recorded a pass success of 89%.
Gazzetta dello Sport (via Football Italia) was responsible for bringing to light Manchester United’s €30 million bid for Kalidou Koulibaly. However, Napoli chief Aurelio de Laurentiis rejected the bid, stating that the club expected a higher fee for the player.
The report stated that it was Koulibaly’s agent, Fali Ramadani, who brought the offer to Napoli on behalf of the English team. The report also stated that the player is disappointed as the club rejected the offer, even though he has been ready for a move with his suitcase packed for more than a year-and-a-half.
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) July 19, 2021
Meanwhile, another report from Italy, Corriere dello Sport (via Sports Witness) backed up the claims published by Gazzetta stating that Ramadani did deliver the offer made by United. The Red Devils have previously been linked with the player but they were always put down by Napoli’s asking price of €100 million. Nevertheless, it is unknown whether the interest is genuine, as United have not placed a new bid so far.
Also, Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti recently admitted that the Senegal international is indeed transfer-listed by the club, but he wants the player to stay. Koulibaly still has two years left in his current contract and Laurentiis would certainly be looking for a substantial fee, but lower than previous years.
Koulibaly’s addition would certainly have an immediate impact at Old Trafford. He is at the peak of his career at the age of 30 and is undoubtedly one of the best in his position. The Napoli defender would bring leadership and experience at the back, providing cover for the team with his tackles and starting attacking plays with his passes.
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Although United are reportedly very close to signing Varane, Koulibaly offers a better value option. Moreover, despite his success, Varane has shown dipping signs in recent seasons and he may find it a little difficult to fit into the Premier League, which has a more physical and fast-paced approach to the game. Koulibaly’s experience and leadership skills on the field, along with his charisma in the locker room, could be better suited for Ole’s men at present.
Whether or not a move to United could transpire for Koulibaly is a situation that only time can tell. United are still in pursuit of the Real Madrid defender, with the deal expected to be finalised by the end of this week, whereas, a new bid for Koulibaly is still yet to be placed by the Red Devils.
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