According to The Express, Arsenal want to sign Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly in this summer’s transfer window.
Arsenal are yet to announce Arsene Wenger’s replacement, but whoever arrives at the Emirates Stadium will have a serious job on their hands to reinstall the Gunners as a top-four team.
The capital outfit actually have a whole host of attacking talent, but they are simply not good enough in a defensive area, and at least two new defenders need to arrive this summer.
According to The Express, the Gunners have pinpointed Koulibaly as the perfect player to bring both a presence and indeed quality to the backline ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.
Chelsea were previously strongly linked with a move for the centre-back, but the former English champions could not come to an agreement with Napoli, who might well lose their manager Maurizio Sarri to the Blues this summer.
The 26-year-old is under contract at Napoli until the summer of 2021, and it is understood that the Italian giants value the defender in excess of £50m.
Arsenal might well have been able to afford that sum if they had secured a return to the Champions League, but their failure to win the Europa League means that they will again be absent from Europe’s leading competition next term.
The simple fact of the matter is that Arsenal’s new boss will not have hundreds of millions to spend this summer, and paying in excess of £50m for a centre-back is a huge risk.
That said, Koulibaly is an outstanding talent, and would certainly boost a defence that conceded 51 Premier League goals during the 2017-18 campaign.
Per Mertesacker’s retirement and Laurent Koscielny’s long-term Achilles problem has strengthened Arsenal’s need in that area of the field, and Koulibaly has had another wonderful season at Napoli – making 44 appearances in all competitions.
Money is a problem when it comes to this particular deal, however, and it is very difficult to see the move taking place under the current terms.