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CALL-IDOU KOULIBALY – Is There An End In Sight?

This summer’s transfer market has been officially open for a long time now, but one player’s future that has not concluded so far is that of Kalidou Koulibaly. The 29-year old Senegalese centre back has not handed in a transfer request as such, but per the Italian media’s sources, there is a growing consensus that Napoli and Koulibaly could part ways this window. For Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis, it would mean keeping club finances in the green post a heavy investment in new recruit Victor Osimhen. For Koulibaly, it would bring an end to his journey in Naples and a final opportunity to ply his trade at a club of higher reputation while still in his peak years.

So the real question seems to be, who is chasing Koulibaly? According to media reports and quotes from De Laurentiis himself, Manchester City are the frontrunners to sign the defender while Paris St Germain (PSG) and Manchester United are monitoring the situation.

The Citizens would surely benefit from Koulibaly’s presence having been defensively poor throughout the last season. He would bring a myriad of attributes such as command in defence, physical style and leadership – aspects that would remind people of Vincent Kompany, who City have very sorely missed since his departure. On paper thus, it would seem fitting that Koulibaly is yet another star name to embrace and adapt quickly to the ways and means of the calling of the Premier League.

Koulibaly would most certainly be perfect partners for Harry Maguire at Manchester United as well as Presnel Kimpembe at PSG, but both clubs seem to be focusing their efforts elsewhere in the market.

Latest developments have indicated that while United are looking to strike a deal for Dayot Upamecano, PSG hope to ensnare Milan Skriniar from Inter Milan.

This could potentially see Man City have a free run at Koulibaly and wrap up a deal, having negotiated for many weeks now. One of the reasons for the slow progress is that the player’s agent Fali Ramadani has been negotiating on behalf of both clubs since they do not share a good relationship after the Jorginho incident in 2017. A bright spot over the course of the tango between Napoli and City has however seen the former reduce their demands to 80 million, while the latter has upped their offer to 70 million inclusive of bonuses. This could mean that an agreement is close, but an interesting week certainly awaits us.

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Bhargav Gopal
The quintessential football aficionado who knows a thing or two about Economics. One can often find me reading detective novels with coffee when I am away from the sports world.
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