25 Apr 2017

Sign for Liverpool? Boss confirms 'phenomenal' £58m star wanted by Klopp 'can leave'. Sadio Mane to help?

Liverpool are currently linked with Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, and according to Serie A club's president, the 6'5 defender is definitely available this summer.

Last week, Daily Mail claimed:

"Klopp is hoping to utilise the funds raised from the summer sale of Mamadou Sakho [to sign] Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly".

When asked over the weekend about a possible move to the Premier League this summer, Aurelio De Laurentiis told Gazzetta dello Sport:

"It [a transfer] will depend on the player's will, because if he [Koulibaly] doesn't want to stay then he can leave".

Some info about 25-year old Koulibaly, who is one of Sadio Mane's international team-mates.

* 6'5 central defender. Contract expires: 2021.

* Napoli: 115 apps (6 goals/assists)

* Senegal: 16 apps, the majority of which were alongside Mane.

* Missed only 5 games through injury since 2012.

* Scouting Report (Strengths): "Robust, and physically imposing. Aggression, authority and intelligence. Seemingly always in the right place to steal the ball away from an opponent".

* Scouting Report (Weaknesses): "Somewhat ungainly. Often guilty of committing unnecessary fouls. long-range passing could improve. Prone to rare moments of inexplicable naivety".

* Mar 2016: Milan legend Zvonimir Boban (Now with Sky Italia) enthused: "For me, he's among the best in the world. He now comes out with the ball in such an impeccable way and is always physically dominant. Napoli have uncovered a champion.”

* Apr 2016: Diego Maradona raved: "He [Koulibaly] is phenomenal, the best defender in Serie A. There is a lot of racism around him. If he was white, he’d be playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona".

* Oct 2016: De Laurentiis claimed: "Chelsea offered to me £30m, £35m, £40m, £45m, and £50m [for Koulibaly]. Two days before the closing of the market, I hear £58m".

De Laurentiis' apparent willingness to let Koulibaly leave is hardly surprising. The Italian is no fan of the defender, and after an image rights dispute last season, he scathed:

"I thought Koulibaly was a good man. The moment I realise you and your agent haven't read the contracts properly before signing, I cannot tolerate that. He created damages worth millions. Apologising to the fans is not enough".

Ouch. The downside is that De Laurentiis will probably demand top dollar for Koulibaly (who has 4-years left on his contract), which may put Liverpool out of the running.

In my view, Southampton star Virgil Van Dijk is a (possibly) cheaper option, and better option.


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