Manchester City’s offer of €60m for defender Kalidou Koulibaly fell well short of Napoli’s asking price, according to reports.
The Premier League giants were keen to add further quality to their rearguard having already signed Nathan Ake. Koulibaly was heavily linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium but nothing happened before the transfer window closed.
It seems as though Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis is holding out for between €75-80m. Calciomercato are reporting that the veteran film producer will not alter his stance. The price will remain the same should the Citizens come calling in January.
The Partenopei have made a solid start to their 2020-2021 Serie A campaign and sit fourth in the standings. Manager Gennaro Gattuso wants to keep his big players at Stadio San Paolo to push for a top-four finish.
He has the backing of the club’s hierarchy, although City may ramp up the pressure in the new year. The north-west giants have the spending power and it remains to be seen if they use it to lure Koulibaly.
Capped 42 times by Senegal, the 29-year-old has been a rock at the back for Napoli, making 249 appearances.He has chipped in with 10 top-flight golas from 186 outings and is seen as integral to the club’s hopes.
They finished seventh last season and have not claimed the Italian top-flight title for 30 years. However, victory in the Coppa Italia final in June helped appease the club’s fans.
No pressure on Dias
While Koulibaly remains an option, Guardiola already has centre-back Ruben Dias at his disposal. The 23-year-old’s arrival has created a buzz but the boss was quick to play down comparisons with Vincent Kompany.
“Vincent is unique. Ruben is young,” he said. “He is a type of leader. He will lead the team. He’s just 23 years old. We cannot forget he plays for Portugal. We are delighted with what we have seen.”
Aymeric Laporte’s expected return will also boost City’s defensive ranks, with fixtures coming thick and fast. The Champions League is about to kick off and Guardiola’s men face Porto at the Etihad on Wednesday.
The Portuguese giants sit second in their domestic league and have been scoring goals for fun. They have won two of four Primeira Liga games, scoring 12 times in the process.
City are down in 11th place in the Premier League but have a game in hand on many above them.
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