Following Leo Messi‘s decision to stay in Barcelona, the management of Manchester City is fully committed to bringing in a defender in the form of Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli. The two clubs are expected to reach a final agreement on the transfer of the defender for €75 million, which will be the highest transfer in the history of Man City, even more than the transfer of Kevin de Bruyne from Wolfsburg.
Although Napoli has so far rejected two offers from City, worth €65 million and €68 million, it seems that the offer of €75 million will be accepted by Aurelio De Laurentiis, who initially demanded for as much as €100 million for the Senegalese.
With this transfer, Koulibaly will become the fifth most expensive defender in history. Harry Maguire is undisputed as the most expensive defender, with his transfer from Leicester City to Manchester United for €87 million. Juventus paid €85.5 million for Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax, Liverpool paid Southampton €84.6 million for Virgil van Dijk and €80 million was paid by Bayern Munich for Lucas Hernandez to Atletico Madrid.
As for the salary of the Senegalese, it is speculated that €9 million has been agreed with possible bonuses of €3 million depending on the results of the team.
After the departure of Vincent Kompany, the central defensive position became one of the most vulnerable spots in Guardiola’s squad. Without the experienced captain, there was a lack of stability in City’s defense, which was visible throughout last season. Given that City’s owners are only interested in winning, it was clear that the Citizens would again be very active in the transfer market.
Besides Koulibaly, City also targeted Dayot Upamecano from Leipzig, but the Senegalese’s leadership skills are what they really need. While it cannot be expected that only one player can close the gap between City and Liverpool who dominated the Premier League last season, bringing in the 29 year-old would be a huge step forward in that direction.
Koulibaly was one of the key players behind the rise of Napoli in the last few seasons, who have established themselves as regular participants in the Champions League and one of Juventus’ main competitors in Serie A.
Almost all of the top European clubs were interested in signing the central defender and it seems that Napoli have finally made the decision to part ways with their best player. With the funds from the transfer, Gennaro Gattuso will be able to improve other positions in his team, and the fact that Koulibaly will go to England, and not to one of the competitors in the domestic championship goes in their favour.
Koulibaly started his career in Metz’s second team, but very soon made his debut in the first team as a 19-year-old after manager Dominique Bijotat recognized his great potential. After three seasons in the French championship, he moved to Genk where he spent two seasons, and in 2014 he moved to Napoli for a transfer of €6.5 million. Under the leadership of the manager Maurizio Sarri, Koulibaly has grown from a solid footballer to one of Seire A’s top players.
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