Manchester City are pressing ahead with their efforts to sign Kalidou Koulibaly after seeing a bid rejected for an alternative target, according to reports.
Koulibaly is one of City’s main targets for the remainder of the transfer window. They have already strengthened their defence with the signing of Nathan Ake but are looking for another option as well.
City are keen to sign Koulibaly, who is viewed by many as one of the best defenders in the world. However, their negotiations with Napoli have been delayed.
Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis claims the reason talks aren’t progressing quickly is because City are still bitter that the Serie A side sold Jorginho to Chelsea instead of them two years ago.
De Laurentiis told Canale 21 recently: “How can we have a normal and calm negotiation with Manchester City to sell Koulibaly?
“They won’t talk directly with us because of the Jorginho deal two years ago.”
Amid those claims, reports arose suggesting City were looking at Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez as an alternative. Chelsea were linked with the centre-back during the summer, but news of City’s interest emerged late in July.
The club have now acted on that. However, SportItalia journalist Alfredo Pedulla says Atletico have rejected their €70m offer.
Therefore, City seem likely to return to Koulibaly – who would cost a similar amount.
Koulibaly agent in Manchester
According to Corriere Dello Sport, the player’s agent, Fali Ramadami, has now arrived in Manchester to try and unlock negotiations.
Ramadami will return to Capri, where De Laurentiis is currently on holiday, at the start of the week. Therefore, City must act quickly to work out an offer.
Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano claims that City’s new offer will be close to Napoli’s asking price. A bid of around €75m should tempt the Serie A side into accepting.
Italian journalist Paolo Esposito recently revealed that City had only offered €55m so far and were playing lowball in negotiations.
Koulibaly himself is reportedly keen to move to the Etihad Stadium, where he can play in the Champions League again. In fact, some outlets claim he has already agreed personal terms.
However, the two clubs must resolve their differences before the deal can go through.