Koulibaly transfer fee reduced as Man United close on centre-back
Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, left, challenges Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata during a Serie A soccer match between Atalanta and Napoli, at Bergamo’s Stadium, northern Italy, Thursday, July 2, 2020. (Giuseppe Zanardelli/LaPresse via AP)

Manchester United’s interest in a new centre-back means one name was always destined to crop up.

Jose Mourinho was still in charge when interest in Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly first emerged.

Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis claimed the Red Devils had a £95million bid rejected from United for the Senegalese star back in 2018.

“[Jose] Mourinho wanted him, we rejected £95 million,” De Laurentiis told Corriere del Mezzogiorno at the time. “But now it’s impossible that he leaves Napoli.”

Links continued when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge and it was claimed he was also a big fan of the player.

But Napoli were unwilling to sell and a deal never materialised.

United eventually signed Harry Maguire for a world-record fee, but they are now closing in on a move for another new centre-back to partner him.

Koulibaly transfer fee reduced as Man United close on centre-back
Kalidou Koulibaly speaks to his international manager at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo, Egypt, on June 27, 2019. [Stafford Ondego]

It is widely reported that United will look to strengthen at the heart of defence in the summer as they look to take the next step to become genuine title contenders.

The stars may now align to give them another chance to land Koulibaly – for less than half the price of the bid they allegedly had rejected in the past.

According to Napoli’s local newspaper, Il Mattino, Napoli need to make cuts and could now be available due to his high salary.

It is claimed their offer of around €45million (£38.8m) could be accepted by Napoli given current circumstances.

If that is the case, then you would imagine United may be interested to explore a potential deal for far less than they would have had to pay in previous windows.

Liverpool were also linked with Koulibaly in January after Virgil van Dijk’s injury, but they eventually settled for moves for Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak to ease their crisis in the short-term.


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