Kalidou Koulibaly is almost certain to leave Napoli this summer with Manchester United leading the race to sign him, according to La Repubblica.
The news is in almost exact contradiction of a report in Il Mattino this week which claimed that Koulibaly and di Laurentiis had shared an amicable phone call in which Koulibaly expressed his desire to stay in Naples.
That article also suggested that the Neopolitan club’s finances were in a healthy state and that they would not need to drop their £100 million asking price for the defender even if they failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
The new piece in La Repubblica, on the other hand, claims that the Red Devils are willing to pay ten times the fee paid by Napoli for the Senegalese to bring him to Old Trafford – which equates to £78 million – and that ‘this time, it will be enough’.
In complete contrast to the earlier report, it is claimed that the centre back’s £6 million per year salary will be ‘unsustainable’ if Napoli don’t qualify for the Champions League.
The article claims that ‘the countdown to Koulibaly’s goodbye has already begun’ and that there is now a two-horse race between United and neighbours Manchester City for his signature.
United are said to ‘have a clear advantage at this time in the fight with City’.
Napoli are not likely to qualify for the Champions League as things stand, as the club lies nine points behind fourth-placed Atalanta with nine left to play and with Atalanta having played a game fewer.
This would mean that if the new report is true, United may be able to finally get their man – and at a figure considerably less than the £94 million that was reportedly turned down by di Laurentiis in 2018.
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