Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has confirmed that Manchester United had recently lodged a club-record £95m for defender Kalidou Koulibaly which was swiftly knocked back. The Senegal international had been highlighted as the prime winter target for Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford before he was sacked from the head coach role.
Speaking to reporters, De Laurentiis revealed that Mourinho was keen on recruiting the French-born centre-back at the turn of the year but the club rejected the advances without any concern. He added that the Naples outfit have no plans of offloading Koulibaly during the winter transfer window, although the club can’t continue rejecting ‘indecent offers’ for their leading performer in the future.
He said: “Mourinho wanted him, we rejected £95 million. But now it's impossible that he leaves Napoli. We won't sell Koulibaly in January. But the time will come where we can't refuse other indecent offers. We always invest, but with criteria. In Italy, there are two or three clubs with balanced books, and I'm the only one who doesn't have any bank debt. We develop and keep high calibre players. When £95 million are offered for a central defender like Koulibaly it means he’s a top player.”
“Koulibaly only penned a new long-term deal with the Italian heavyweights during the month of September“ and the club are currently in a comfortable position to ward off any potential interest. However, on the financial point of view, next summer could be the perfect time to sanction his sale with the 27-year-old at the prime of his career “while there appears more“ competition which could drive the player’s valuation even further.
Meanwhile, Napoli have not managed to replicate their Serie A challenge when compared to the previous campaign and they are currently eight points behind Juventus after the opening 16 games of the season. Their European campaign also suffered disappointment following their ouster from the Champions League but it remains to be seen whether they can stay competent in the Europa League where they have strong competition from Chelsea, Arsenal among others.