Manchester United have informed Napoli of their intention to launch a mammoth summer bid to sign Kalidou Koulibaly, which, according to reports in the Italian media, will finally convince hard-nosed president Aurelio De Laurentiis to cash in on his prized asset.
The Senegal international is one of the best defenders on the planet, and could be on his way out of Naples this summer, despite his contract lasting until 2023.
There has already been talk of a £75m agreement with French giants Paris Saint-Germain, which would give Koulibaly the chance to return to the country of his birth, while Everton have also been suggested as surprise suitors with the Toffees managed by his former coach in Naples, in Carlo Ancelotti.
However, United also continue to be linked with the powerful 28-year-old defensive rock, with the Red Devils having seen a world-record offer knocked back for the defender back in ahead of the January 2019 window.
And according to La Repubblica, it is now widely accepted that this summer will see a parting of ways between Koulibaly and Napoli, with the club finally ready to cash in after accepting the €6m a year salary package they handed him last summer is probably beyond their means with there being no guarantee of Champions League football next season.
As per the Italian paper [via Sport Witness], United are preparing what is described as a ‘monstrous offer’ for Koulibaly and are prepared to pay €85m (£74.1m) – which would amount to 10 times the fee they paid to bring him to the club from Genk back in 2014.
And they claim that will be enough to finally convince De Laurentiis – who often drives a hard bargain – to cash in on his prized asset and give coach Gennaro Gattuso the funds he needs to launch a serious squad rebuild at the San Paolo Stadium.
The report also states Manchester City could yet launch a rival bid to beat United to Koulibaly, but the Cityzens’ lack of European football, together with United’s long-standing interest in the player, will push him towards Old Trafford.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to be looking for a new defender when the window opens amid claims Phil Jones could move on this summer, with Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo also likely to be sold.
“Football is going to get back to normality at one point, and it’s very important we’re ready when that happens,” the manager said.
“We want to be the best at everything, and of course now is a chance to spend more time, you discuss players, discuss plans, we’ve evaluated what we need, of course with the coaching staff we’ve looked at games, evaluated games, discussing on video calls like this.
“Then, the market, who knows how the market is going to react to this? Who knows which clubs need to sell players?
“There might be just a situation there where you can exploit, and I know that we at Man United we are one of the biggest, and the biggest, financially well-off.
“I’m sure we are capable, when we get back to normality, that we can do the business that we want to.”