Barcelona will reportedly need to fend off stiff competition from Real Madrid to sign Kalidou Koulibaly from Serie A giants Napoli.

According to a report by Spanish outlet Fichajes, Kalidou Koulibaly is becoming a highly sought-after player in the market ahead of the summer transfer window. The 30-year-old Napoli centre-back is a target for Barcelona and Real Madrid, with Inter Milan also keeping tabs on his situation.

Kalidou Koulibaly has established himself as one of the best centre-backs in Serie A since joining Napoli from KRC Genk in July 2014. Over the last seven and a half years, the Senegalese defender has been a mainstay at the back for club and country, recently winning the Africa Cup of Nations with his national side.

As for his stint with Napoli, the 30-year-old has turned out 306 times to date for the Partenopei, with 23 outings coming in the ongoing campaign. But Koulibaly will enter the final year of his deal with the Serie A club in the summer transfer window, creating widespread speculation over his future, with Barcelona and Real Madrid setting sights on him.

The interest from Barcelona stems from the advancing years of Gerard Pique and the inconsistent performances of Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti. Even Eric Garcia has largely flattered to deceive since returning to Camp Nou from Manchester City last summer, leaving Ronald Araujo as the only reliable defender at Barcelona.

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Araujo’s future at Camp Nou is far from certain after rejecting a contract renewal offer from Barcelona. The Catalan giants thus need to keep their options open, with Koulibaly emerging as a viable target. But Barcelona will face stiff competition from Real Madrid in the race to sign the 30-year-old.

Real Madrid’s problems arise from a lack of resources rather than consistency. While Eder Militao and David Alaba are firmly established as the first-choice central defensive partnership, Nacho is a backup option at best. Meanwhile, Jesus Vallejo faces an uncertain future at Real Madrid, with Carlo Ancelotti using him sparingly.

As a result, several centre-backs, including Castello Lukeba, have been linked with Real Madrid, with Koulibaly emerging as an option worth considering. Apart from Barcelona and Real Madrid, Serie A champions Inter Milan could also be a part of the race to sign the 30-year-old, whose situation will continue to trouble Napoli heading into the summer transfer window.

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