Liverpool will attempt to hijack Manchester City's bid to sign Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli this summer and will ask Sadio Mane to persuade the central defender to join the Premier League champions, according to reports in Le Parisien.
Jurgen Klopp believes a deal with Napoli could be reached before the transfer window closes on October 5, but is mindful that both Manchester City and PSG are interested in the 29-year-old. However, the Reds boss knows the Senegal connection between Mane and the centre-back could help them pip their rivals to his signature. It is thought a transfer fee north of £60m would be rehired to prise him from the Italians.
Koulibaly is hot property this summer, having transformed into one of Europe's elite defenders since joining Napoli from Genk six summers ago. The Senegal captain has been praised for his reading of the game, leadership skills and aerial prowess, while his pace and strength are perfectly suited to the fast-paced Premier League.
Pep Guardiola had hoped to partner Koulibaly with Aymeric Laporte at the heart of Manchester City's defence. The Catalan was unimpressed with City's defensive displays last season and has already upgraded his backline with the £41m signing of Nathan Ake from Bournemouth. Koulibaly would represent a significant upgrade on any of Laporte's current defensive partners, with John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi both struggling for form last campaign.
PSG, meanwhile, are looking for a new leader after talismanic defender Thiago Silva moved to Chelsea on a free transfer earlier this summer. They feel their progress in the Champions League last season make them a tempting destination for Europe's top players.
Klopp knows a defence marshalled by Koulibaly and Virgil van Dijk would take his team to even greater heights. Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have both performed well beside Klopp's first choice Dutch defender, but neither has managed to make himself undroppable in the deputy role.
Klopp has already signed Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich for £29m, and this week also finalised a deal to bring in Diogo Jota from Wolves for £40m. Having upgraded his midfield and attack, he now wants to improve his defence.
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