Kalidou Koulibaly believes there is a “strong chance” he will join Manchester City this summer, according to transfer expert Duncan Castles.
Napoli centre-back Koulibaly is expected to leave the Serie A club in the next transfer window. The Reds and City both strongly linked with the player.
However, Castles says Liverpool’s priority is to sign a left-footed centre-back who can also play at left-back, giving cover to Andrew Robertson.
That would rule them out of the running for Koulibaly, who is right-footed and would complement the left-footed Aymeric Laporte at the Etihad.
Castles says Koulibaly ‘knows City’s need for a defender is greater than Liverpool’s’ and that he ‘expects a move to the Etihad to happen’.
However, Napoli are still set to ask for around €80million (£72.5m) for the 28-year-old’s services.
“Napoli’s coach Gennaro Gattuso has been told Koulibaly will definitely be sold this summer and a replacement centre-back is coming in.” Castles said on the Transfer Window podcast, as cited in the Daily Express.
“Koulibaly himself is open to that, he’s ready for a change of environment and keen to move to the Premier League.
“There’s been talk of Liverpool as the club that would take him from Napoli to add him alongside Virgil van Dijk. That could be an extremely impressive defence.
“[But] Koulibaly is a right-footed player and would be extremely expensive.
“Napoli’s asking price pre-Covid-19 was €100m (£90m), they would be expected to come down. But I don’t see the fee coming significantly down into the €60m (£54m) mark.
“The noises from Napoli is perhaps €80m (£72.5m) would do it at present.
Koulibaly to demand bumper salary deal
“Obviously all of these things are open to negotiation but it’s going to be a significant salary, it’s going to be significant wages.
“The word from people close to Koulibaly is he thinks there’s a strong chance he will end up at Manchester City.
“The noises and efforts that City have made so far and obviously their greater need for a top centre-back. As we’ve talked about many times the only centre-back option that Guardiola trusts at present is Aymeric Laporte.
“They’ve spent this whole season short of quality at centre-back – puts them in Koulibaly’s mind as his more likely destination this summer.”
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