In Focus: Southampton failed with bid to sign Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly

According to Italian media outlet Calciomercato, Southampton were the first club to try to sign Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, who is now rated at between €60-70m (approximately £53.9-62.9m) by the Serie A outfit.

What’s the word, then?

Well, Calciomercato spoke to an Italian agent named Giuseppe Cannella who revealed that Saints were the first club to make a move for the promising central defender two seasons ago, but no details of the bid were disclosed in the interview.

Since then, Chelsea have been heavily linked with the 26-year-old, who has quickly established himself as one of the best in his position in Italy and indeed across the whole of Europe, but they have been told that they may have to pay £62.9m to bring him to Stamford Bridge.

The Senegal international has made 132 appearances in all competitions for Napoli, who are currently top of Serie A having won all eight of their fixtures this term, scoring four goals and providing a further five assists, and he has shown that he has all of the attributes needed to be a success in the English top flight.

Has Southampton’s interest in him ended?

Almost certainly, yes.

Saints’ club-record fee is the £18.1m they paid to sign Mario Lemina from Juventus during the summer, and while they may have some significant funds available if they choose to cash in on Virgil van Dijk in the New Year or next summer, they would have an almost impossible job on their hands to convince the 26-year-old to move to St Mary’s.

What does the bid say about the club’s recruitment?

It obviously shines it in a good light considering how much the centre-back has developed in the last couple of seasons, as well as showing that they can see the potential in a player.

But while Saints can point to the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane and Toby Alderweireld as impressive additions in recent years, they have also had their fair share of questionable purchases too – think Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and even Sofiane Boufal.