Newcastle United are lining up a January swoop for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly as their first marquee signing following their £300 million Saudi-backed takeover.

According to an exclusive report by Football Insider, Newcastle United are planning to make Napoli’s defensive stalwart Kalidou Koulibaly as their first major signing come this January transfer window.

Fortunes have turned drastically overnight on the Tyneside. From having barely spent on transfers under the 14-year tenure of thrifty businessman-owner Mike Ashley, the Magpies now have all the riches to potentially blow the transfer market under the new ownership.

Newcastle are currently languishing 19th in the Premier League table. So, it becomes vital they strengthen the weak links in the January transfer window to affirm their survival and ideally push into the top 10 to give them a good platform to shoot up the following season. The club chiefs have already started identifying the potential targets, and on the top of their priority list is Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

The 30-year-old has been a regular fixture at the heart of Partenopei’s backline ever since his £7 million arrivals from Belgian outfit KRC Genk and has established a name as one of the best central defenders in Europe over the years. He has been linked with a Premier League move numerous times in past, but with Napoli’s president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, asking for a massive transfer fee a switch never materialized.

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However, all that is expected to change; with Koulibaly entering the final two years of his contract and having struggled with a few fitness issues in the last couple of campaigns, the price tag is set to drop. The club hierarchy is aware that this may be their last opportunity to get a reasonable transfer fee for their prized asset.

To date, the Senegalese mountain man has tallied 283 appearances for Napoli, scoring 11 goals and five assists in the process. Most recently, he was touted with a switch to Everton to reunite with his former boss Rafa Benitez but financial fair play regulations disbanded the Toffees.

Newcastle have glaring issues at the back. They have conceded the joint-most 16 goals from 7 league games so far and have been crying out for someone who can bind their backline. Most of their defenders lack any real quality or recovery pace and are extremely exposed to turnovers.

Koulibaly would be a sensational pick-up and an astronomical jump from the quality they currently have on their roster. A physical specimen, a monster in the air and composed in possession, he also possesses good ground speed to deal.

A commander and very underrated at ball-playing, Koulibaly has all the assets that Magpies’ faithful can dream of, but enticing him to the North-East of England won’t be easy. There are a few concerns too with his high valuation, recent injury-prone nature and age, meaning he will have very little sell-on value, but all things kept aside, he would be a certain coup if they manage to persuade him to move to Tyneside.

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