Barcelona are the preferred next club of Kalidou Koulibaly, but Tottenham Hotspur have joined a London rival in the race too, according to a report.
After years of transfer rumours, this summer could finally be the one in which Koulibaly leaves Napoli. He has been with the Serie A side since 2014, when he joined from Genk. In the time since, he has made more than 300 appearances for the club.
The Senegal international has long been admired by several Premier League clubs. However, he opted to spend the bulk of his career in Naples instead.
But his contract with his current employers is due to expire at the end of next season. Therefore, there is a growing feeling they will sell him this summer to avoid a free transfer in 2023.
In turn, Premier League links have been revived for the 30-year-old. Yet Diario Sport claim that the move he would prefer to make would be to join Barcelona.
The La Liga outfit are aiming to strengthen their defence. Andreas Christensen is ready to join from Chelsea, to link up with the likes of Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia and the ageing Gerard Pique. The futures of Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti are in doubt.
Barcelona have often looked at free agents to fulfil their transfer needs recently. But they are now expanding their horizons by searching for players in the final year of their contracts.
Koulibaly would fit into that strategy, although it is by no means a given he will join Barcelona. Indeed, Sport reveal Juventus want him, while he has two rival suitors in England. Each has turned to his entourage to begin talks.
Chelsea target Kalidou Koulibaly
Chelsea are looking into Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly as their search for a defender continues.
The first is Chelsea, who were linked with Koulibaly throughout May. As Christensen and Antonio Rudiger prepare to leave, the Blues will need reinforcements for their back three.
Yet they now face competition from London rivals Tottenham, the report claims.
Koulibaly would solidify Tottenham defence
Spurs also want to solidify their three-man backline, particularly on the left-hand side.
Koulibaly is right-footed, so would be more suited to the central or right-hand role in the back three. However, he has played on the left of a two-man partnership many times for Napoli.
Therefore, he has the flexibility to provide Antonio Conte cover where he needs it. His experience would also be beneficial. There is little reason to suspect he would struggle to adapt to the Premier League; this is an elite player.
And with the asking price reported to be €35m (around £29.8m), Koulibaly could be a smart investment, despite being in the twilight of his career.
Cristian Romero has made a good impression since his 2021 move from Atalanta. Perhaps Conte and Fabio Paratici could go back into the Italian market to strengthen further in that department.
After signing Ivan Perisic, it looks like Conte wants players who will give him guarantees. Age is not a concern for the coach. Koulibaly would therefore match up with their strategy.
Yet he still has plenty more to give at his peak level. Hence, Tottenham should try to do what they can in the battle for the former Metz man’s services.