Napoli have reportedly slapped a €70 million price tag on Kalidou Koulibaly, who is a transfer target for Barcelona ahead of the summer window.
According to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona will need to shell out at least €70 million if they wish to sign Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli in the summer transfer window.
Koulibaly has been with Napoli since 2014 when he arrived from KRC Genk. During his near eight-year stint with the Partenopei, the 30-year-old has established himself as one of the finest defenders in Europe. He has been constantly linked with a move to a bigger club over the years but has stayed put at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
However, Koulibaly is entering the final year of his contract with Napoli at the end of the season, and a renewal is not in sight as things stand. As a result, the Senegalese international, who recently won the Africa Cup of Nations, has emerged as a transfer target for several European giants, including Barcelona.
Barcelona’s interest in Koulibaly stems from the uncertainties surrounding the future of Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti, both of whom have dropped down the pecking order at Camp Nou. In addition, Gerard Pique has entered the final phase of his career, and there have been claims that the veteran defender might be considering retirement as well.
Such a situation would necessitate the signing of an experienced defender with a proven pedigree to partner youngsters like Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia. Koulibaly, to that end, has emerged as a viable option for the Blaugrana, although they will have to stave off competition from arch-rivals Real Madrid.
However, as per the report, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is unwilling to sanction a sale unless he receives a sum of €70 million, even though Koulibaly will be entering the final year of his contract at the end of the season. Should the club supremo not relent from his stance, Barcelona will likely end their pursuit of the 30-year-old as they do not wish to splash so much money on the defender.
The Catalan giants have several other options on their radars, with Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen high on the club’s wishlist as the pair will be available on free transfers. In addition, Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Matthijs de Ligt are also possible options under consideration, but they, too, are likely to be expensive buys. It remains to be seen who Barcelona end up signing in the summer.