Manchester City’s delay in sealing the signing of Kalidou Koulibaly is, bizarrely, being blamed on Chelsea star Jorginho.
City have moved ahead of Manchester United in the race to sign the powerful Napoli defender.
According to Sportitalia and France Football, as cited by Football Italia, City are sending a new proposal to the Serie A side in the coming days.
Napoli’s asking price for the Senegal star currently sits at €80million. City are so far said to have offered €70m plus bonuses.
He said: “Koulibaly and Milik are both on their way out, transfer market permitting.
“So, if the transfer market allows us to sell these two excellent players, we will know how to replace them. If not, then we’ll discuss it again next year.”
France Football maintains that Koulibaly has already agreed terms with City, who are prepared to double his current salary to €12m per year. They will also add on control of his image rights.
Despite those two incentives, talks over a deal to take Koulibaly to the Etihad continue to drag on.
Now controversial Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has explained the delay in proceedings. And he says the ill-feeling that exists between the clubs over Jorginho is the reason.
City had agreed a £54m deal to sign the Italy midfielder from Napoli back in 2018. However, Napoli pulled the plug at the last minute and instead sold him to Chelsea.
It was a move that clearly left a bitter taste with Pep Guardiola.
De Laurentiis told Canale 21 : “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.”
De Laurentiis on Koulibaly sale
Providing an update on the prospective deal, he added: “I have answered on this via SMS, because an important English newspaper wrote to me asking: ‘What is happening with Koulibaly and Manchester City?’.
“I answered that Manchester City is saying it can’t talk directly with us because of the problem with Jorginho.
“How can we then proceed with a serious and serene negotiation for the transfer of a player? Is the reasoning clear?”
De Laurentiis added: “Koulibaly and [Arkadiusz] Milik are both on their way out, transfer market permitting.
“So, if the transfer market allows us to sell these two excellent players, we will know how to replace them. If not, then we’ll discuss it again next year.
“Kalidou is a great person, I would be terribly sad to lose him. But there is a time for everything, even to move apart.”