Manchester United have seen a €30m bid for Napoli stalwart Kalidou Koulibaly rejected, according to one report in Italy.
It is a story which has come somewhat out of the blue, especially when you consider United’s pursuit of Raphael Varane.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking for a new centre-back. Real Madrid defender Varane is understood to be his top target.
United are well down the path with Varane, if numerous reports are to be believed.
Varane built up a rock-solid relationship with Sergio Ramos lasting several years at Madrid. Ex-Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano therefore admits that United are getting a formidable signing.
With Ramos having already left for Paris Saint-Germain, the 65-year-old told El Transistor: “Two titans leave Real Madrid with a strategic position in the field.
“Ramos and Varane mean something similar to [Georgio] Chiellini and [Leonardo] Bonucci in Italy.”
The approach has been brought to the table in Naples by the player’s agent Fali Ramadani “on behalf of Manchester United”.
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Naples supremo Aurelio De Laurentiis has always resisted any offers for the 30-year-old centre-back in recent seasons.
The Senegal defender has two years left on his contract and after the Covid-19 pandemic De Laurentiis is thinking about the player’s sale.
Napoli’s 2020/21 balance sheet, which closed in June, is understood to show a loss of more than €20m.
Man Utd smokescreen?
If Koulibaly was sold Napoli would not only receive a transfer fee, and they are understood to be chasing €60m for the player. They would also save around €22m in wages over the next two years, per the source.
Calciomercato reported Napoli had rejected a bid of €35m plus performance-related bonuses from Everton the week before. So it’s no surprise to €30m waved away.
Whether or not United have used Koulibaly as a smokescreen or a way of applying pressure to Madrid is unclear.
What is clear is that De Laurentiis remains as resolute as ever over transfers. He will not allow any of his stars to leave on cut-price deals.
The paper makes it clear that Koulibaly has asked to leave the Serie A club. In fact “he has been living for a year and a half…with his suitcase ready”.
De Laurentiis though also has a new coach in Luciano Spalletti to keep happy.