According to Foot Mercato, Newcastle are very much interested in a big-money move for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly this summer.
Despite the club’s proposed takeover still in the process of being confirmed and given the green light by the Premier League, it appears as though the Saudi consortium have already drawn up plans to spark a revolution at St James’ Park.
Foot Mercato claim that despite Napoli’s valuation of around €100m (£89.5m), “contacts have intensified in recent times”. The report adds that the Magpies’ prospective new owners want Koulibaly to be the “cornerstone” of their new project, and that “the Saudis informed Naples that they were ready to get as close as possible to the price claimed by President Aurelio De Laurentiis”.
Make no mistake about it, Koulibaly is one of the elite defenders in the world.
His former boss at Napoli, Carlo Ancelotti, waxed lyrical about the Senegal international, and delivered an incredible comparison. He said: “Koulibaly belongs in the category of Maldini, Thuram, Thiago Silva, and Sergio Ramos. He’s very clever, usually he’s so fast and strong he thinks it’s no use to solve problems. He knows that it’s not enough to have a strong personality.”
Ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, and former teammate of Koulibaly back in Naples, even described him as “extraordinary“, and that high level of praise is just a snapshot of the kind of ability the giant centre-back possesses.
If the report is true, and the Magpies are willing to spend an incredible sum of money to get him if and when their takeover is complete, then it would be the kind of statement-making move that could send shock-waves across Europe.