Barcelona reignite interest in Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly

Barcelona reignite interest in the 26-year old Senegalese centre-back

Kalidou Koulibaly (SSC Napoli)
during the Italian Serie A football SSC Napoli v FC Crotone at S. Paolo Stadium in
Naples on May 20, 2018 (Photo by Paolo Manzo/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Before the club signed Samuel Umtiti and after Javier Mascherano left for China, Barcelona were linked with a move for Napoli’s star centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. The Senegalese, who will be making his World Cup debut this summer, is back in Barça’s shortlist.

Clément Lenglet is another option, but the squad would be flooded with left-footed centre-backs if the 22-year old Frenchman. He was scouted as a replacement for the potentially departing Samuel Umtiti, but now that Umtiti has signed a new deal, his signing should be discarded.

The club should look for young defenders who can succeed Gerard Piqué in the first-team. Yerry Mina is incapable of doing that, and Marlon Santos is expected to be offloaded this summer. And hence, Kalidou Koulibaly would be a very good option.

He has had a good season with Napoli, making 43 appearances in all competitions, even scoring 5 goals in the process. The 26-year old centre-back has shown that he is an immaculate passer of the ball, and has the ability to build attacks from the back.

By no means would Kalidou Koulibaly be a cheap option. Although Premier League clubs like Chelsea have cooled their interest in him, he is still in demand in the transfer market and Napoli will demand at least €50 million.

But Barcelona will need to negotiate with the Campanian club. The club is willing to offer around €40 million for Koulibaly, with André Gomes or Paco Alcácer. Since Napoli have had interest in both players in the past, they might be inclined to accept this offer.

But it remains to be seen whether the club enter into negotiations with Napoli, and prioritise signing Kalidou Koulibaly ahead of younger options like Dayot Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt.

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