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Manchester United make £84 million bid for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly – reports

Manchester United has reportedly made a bit of £84 million for Napoli central defender Kalidou Koulibaly. The reports, from Italy, have suggested that United feel they will miss out on Ajax defender Matthija de Ligt this summer. Corriere dello Sport made the claim, suggesting that United have now stepped up their game in the summer transfer market.

Koulibaly has been linked to the Old Trafford club for well over a year now with Jose Mourinho seemingly interested in the Senegal international, amongst others last summer. However, Mourinho was not backed for a commanding central defender last summer, which ended up seeing the manager sacked and United conceding 54 goals in the Premier League alone.

United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, seems determined to rebuild his ailing squad this summer. The club has already announced that Daniel James has an agreement to leave Swansea City for the Premier League club this summer. Solskjaer will need more new faces, also getting rid of some of the deadwood at the club, which does not seem to be happening so far, however, there is still time to offload some players.

Napoli president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, will be determined to get as much for Koulibaly as he can this summer. There have been reports suggesting the club would be looking for at least £89 million for the defender, which is just £5 million more than this reported offer. If it helps United, and it will, they should ensure that the defence is strengthened.

Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk for £75 million more than 18 months ago now and he has transformed the defence at the newly-crowned UEFA Champions League winners. Koulibaly could have a similar effect for United as relying on Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo just do not cut it. Koulibaly could form a partnership with either Victor Lindelof or Eric Bailly, which would add something to the back line.

The 27-year-old, whose current contract at Napoli does not expire until the summer of 2023, does have a £133 million release clause that will come into effect next summer, but that could be too late for United to sign him as he turns 28 in 12 days time. That would be a massive amount of money to spend in a 29-year-old, which will be the case next summer. Napoli might be tempted with a solid £84 million offer, if not, United will need to pay up.

Interest in the Senegal international has started to hot up with French champions Paris Saint-Germain also showing an interested in the player, who formerly played for Metz in France. Juventus are also interested in the player and reports suggest that Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri could return to Italy this summer, managing Juventus so Koulibaly could opt to stay in the same leave, play for his former manager and be a key player on the Old Lady’s dominance in the country.

Koulibaly played a key role in Napoli’s second-placed finish last season. In fact, over the past five years, since he signed from Genk, the player has been a key player for his club, also being named in the Serie A Team of the Season for the past to campaigns. United may have to get this signing done before another team comes in and does just that. For a club that has great financial power and can do things other clubs may dream of, the lack of action would suggest another summer of frustration.

If this summer passes and things do not change at United, it will be another long hard season in the Premier League for United. It was announced on Friday that 15 players had been released this summer, 13 of them from the U23s and U18s, plus Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera. From that, there are already reports suggesting that is Solskjaer’s ruthlessness this summer. If players who have not been performing are kept for another season, it will be the supporters who show their ruthless nature, not the manager.

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