Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly has revealed he would only consider leaving if Manchester City, Barcelona or Real Madrid were interested, according to an Italian journalist.
The Senegal international has established a reputation as one of European football’s top centre-backs since joining the Serie A side from Belgian side Genk in 2014.
Koulibaly has been linked with some of the top clubs in world football in recent years, including City and Manchester United, while a move to Napoli’s bitter rivals Juve has also been touted in the past.
But journalist Valter De Maggio told Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli (via Area Napoli) that the defender categorically ruled out joining the Old Lady during a private conversation.
“I asked him if he intended to go to Juventus, who were among the interested teams at the time,” De Maggio said.
“Koulibaly responded like this: ‘Me to Juventus? Are you crazy? I would never go to play for another Italian club. If I decided to leave Napoli, I would only go to one of two, max three, clubs in the world.
These comments may well prick up the ears of Guardiola, considering Koulibaly’s credentials.
The 30-year-old has been one of the top defenders in Serie A for at least six years now, winning the league’s Defender of the Year award for 2018-19 and earning a place in the Team of the Year four times in a row between 2015 and 2019.
This season, he has played a fundamental role in Napoli’s pace-setting start to the league season under Luciano Spalletti, scoring twice in 10 league games.
Although the Citizens are well stocked for centre-backs at the moment with Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake and John Stones competing for places, they are unlikely to ignore Koulibaly if he becomes available.
Napoli have their star defender under contract until June 2023, meaning he will enter the final year of his deal – a good time to sell – at the end of the season if new terms aren’t agreed.
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