Napoli president Auerelio De Laurentiis has told Manchester United that one day “the time will come” that he is prepared to sell their top target Kalidou Koulibaly.
The towering Senegalese defender was linked with a move to United all summer long, with the Red Devils prepared to spend lavish sums on the Napoli powerhouse.
And despite the world-record defensive fee spent to lure Harry Maguire from Leicester this summer, the centre of defence continues to be a problem area for United this season, with the pressure seriously mounting on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the back of the club’s worst start to a season in 30 years.
Fresh reports earlier this month have again seen Koulibaly’s name mentioned as a target for United, who allegedly want to pair him up with Maguire to form a mean defensive unit.
But while the defender himself insists his only focus remains on Napoli, it seems De Laurentiis admits the day will come when he accepts an approach for the 28-year-old centre-half.
“I loved Koulibaly the man so I refused €105m, but a time will come when I’ll have to sell him. Whoever says we didn’t improve our defence is wrong,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
Koulibaly isn’t the only star Napoli are battling to retain, with plenty of interest in Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens, though De Laurentiis has warned the pair they’ll be selling their souls if they leave Serie A for China.
“I’m absolutely not prepared to make a major effort for them,” he added. “Each player has a value, depending on where they play, how they play, how old they are and what they do.
“If they want to sell themselves out in China, overpaid to live a life of s*** for two or three years, it’s their problem.
“I can’t consider China to be competitive. China’s far away. If they consider it to be close, it’s their problem.
“In life, you have to choose whether to be happy and find a job you enjoy doing or work just for money. For me, money is a means and not an end; if it’s an end for them then they should go to China.”