New leaders emerge for Koulibaly, as Liverpool target other areas

Date published: Wednesday 24th June 2020 9:19

Ronaldo Koulibaly TEAMtalk

Manchester City are at the head of the queue to land Kalidou Koulibaly, according to a report, as Liverpool target other areas of their squad.

Napoli centre-back Koulibaly looks set to leave Italy this summer with a host of Premier League clubs believed to be interested in the 29-year-old.

Liverpool, Manchester United and City have all been mentioned as suitors, while Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso admitted some of his players will leave this summer.

“This is a strong team but I think that only 70-80% of the players will stay with us.

“We will do a few transfers but I know this team has great quality [already],” said Guttuso last week.

At the weekend online outlet Tuttomercatoweb (as cited by SportWitness), noted that Jurgen Klopp’s side were ‘above all’ in the running for Koulibaly.

Now however, Man City lead the race after the Reds shifted their transfer focus, according to transfer pundit Duncan Castles.

Speaking to Ian McGarry on the Transfer Podcast, Castles said: “Gattuso has been told Koulibaly will be sold this summer.

“Koulibaly himself is open to that and is ready for a change of environment.

“He’s keen to move to the Premier League.

“There’s been talk of Liverpool leading the race to pair him with Virgil van Dijk in what would be an impressive defence.

“While Liverpool are in the market for a centre-back, it’s very much dependent on what they’re able to do in other areas of the team.

“They want to sell Dejan Lovren – and if they do, they can bring in a new centre-back.”

Castles also believes Klopp is looking for competition for Andy Robertson this summer and says they may target a versatile defender.

“They also want a back-up left-back – and one idea to solve both problems is to sign a left-footed centre-back who is comfortable at left-back,” added Castles.


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Liverpool priority

“Their priority, though, is to sign someone in attack after missing out on Timo Werner.

“Pre-lockdown, Napoli wanted £90million for Koulibaly, but [Liverpool would prefer] closer to £50m.

“Talk from Napoli is they could be looking at around £70m now for Koulibaly.

“The word from people close to Koulibaly is he thinks there’s a strong chance he will end up at Man City.

“The noises and effort City have made so far and their greater need for a top centre-back [make it favourable to Koulibaly].

“They’re short on quality at centre-back and the only option Pep Guardiola trusts is Aymeric Laporte.

“In Koulibaly’s mind, it’s his more likely destination this summer.”

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