Everton’s prospects of signing Kalidou Koulibaly this summer have been severely questioned by a prominent Italian journalist.
The Toffees started the season brightly and topped the table after matchday six. However, they have won just two of their last 11 games and slipped to a dreadful 1-0 home defeat by relegated Sheffield United on Sunday evening. It left an angry Carlo Ancelotti barking a strong message at his under-performing players.
Ancelotti is hoping his side can overhaul West Ham and claim a place in next season’s Europa League. The Italian tactitian is aware that having European football will help lure his top targets to the club this summer.
Reports on Monday claimed one of the men Everton were keen on, Rafael Leao, had seen his asking price reduced.
But finding defensive reinforcements is also on Ancelotti’s mind. Reports recently claim he wants to sign a top-class centre half to push the Toffees higher up the league next season.
With that in mind, Everton have again been strongly linked with Koulibaly. The Senegalese powerhouse looks likely to leave Napoli this summer for the right price.
A fee of around €50m (£42.9m) has been touted for Koulibaly. That represents some reduction on the €100m Napoli were apparently seeking 18 months ago.
And with Ancelotti having coached the 31-year-old during his time in Naples, Everton’s prospects were said to be good.
However, Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla has completely dashed Everton’s prospects of luring Koulibaly to Merseyside. He claims the defender will have his eyes on a “far more prestigious club” than Everton.
“I think he thinks he’s 31, and he can do another three years at a more prestigious team than Everton. If you sign Koulibaly next summer, you keep him for life.”
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Those remarks, however, were dismissed by his fellow journalist Carlo Alvino. By contrast, he believes there is every chance Koulibaly could end up at Goodison this summer.
Furthermore, he claims Napoli were will sell both Koulibaly and his teammate Fabian Ruiz this summer.
“Where will Kalidou Koulibaly go? The Premier League option is taking shape,” he told Area Napoli.
“And I don’t exclude that he could find Carlo Ancelotti again. The Senegalese and Fabian Ruiz could be the players sacrificed in the next transfer window. [Aurelio] De Laurentiis [Napoli president] would get a large sum of money.”