Liverpool encouraged after contact with agent of £100m man

Kalidou Koulibaly TEAMtalk

Liverpool have made contact with the agent of Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to a report.

Naples-based paper Il Mattino claim Liverpool have entered the race to sign Koulibaly and have approached the centre-back’s agent Fali Ramadani.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is believed to be on the lookout for a long-term partner for Virgil van Dijk. The Anfield club could also lose Dejan Lovren this summer with AC Milan heavily linked with the 27-year-old last week and the need for another centre-back would then become more obvious.

Ill Mattino suggest that Klopp has been informed a deal for Koulibaly is possible, but the Reds are not willing to meet Napoli’s near £100million asking price.

The European champions are though hoping to enter negotiations with the Serie A club for a player who made 48 appearances for Napoli last season.

The centre-back has been a long-term transfer target of Manchester United, with United believed to have failed in a bid to land the player last summer. While only last week  il Corriere dello Sport claimed United had launched a final €100million bid for the defender.

The Senegal international responded to speculation over his future in April by seeming to suggest he will stay at Napoli, he said: “The market is full of talk, I prefer facts, which then help us win.”

Koulibaly signed a new deal with Napoli back in September 2018 to tie him to the club until 2023 and boss Carlo Ancelotti confirmed in April that the centre-back’s buyout clause does not kick in until 2021.

Ancelotti told Tuttosport: “The best centre-back in the world? Yes. And he has more room for improvement. He’s worth €150million and he is non-transferable.

“Koulibaly’s contract will expire in 2023. In 2021 he will have a €150 million release clause, but Napoli do not need to sell, the president does not want to sell and the question does not arise.”