Football News

Napoli will have to sell Man Utd target Kalidou Koulibaly one day, club owner admits

By Ben Green

Published: 11:15, 18 October 2019

Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis has conceded he may be forced to sell Kalidou Koulibaly at some point in the not too distant future.

The 28-year-old was mooted with a move to Manchester United over the summer, before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer broke the bank to sign Harry Maguire.

Koulibaly to Man Utd transfer saga: Five things to know… 

  • Koulibaly saw his name heavily associated with a move to Man Utd during the summer window.
  • De Laurentiis has previously admitted he rejected offers for Koulibaly around £100m.
  • Solskjaer ultimately paid £80m to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City.
  • De Laurentiis hit out at the transfer, saying: “They paid £80m for Maguire. I would pay £30-£35m. I think Koulibaly’s value is £250 million if they paid that much for that guy.”
  • The Napoli owner has now admitted he may have to sell Koulibaly at some point.

Having shone in the defence for Napoli since 2014, De Laurentiis has previously admitted he rejected offers in the region of £100m for the centre-back.

However, despite rebuffing multiple bids for Koulibaly, the Parthenopeans owner has now revealed his hands may be tied the next time an offer is tabled.

“I loved Koulibaly the man so I refused €105m, but a time will come when I’ll have to sell him. Whoever says we didn’t improve our defence is wrong,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

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De Laurentiis: Callejon and Mertens are ‘sellouts’ if they move to China

De Laurentiis also took the time to reflect on interest and speculation surrounding a few of his other prized assets, including Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens.

Both players are entering the latter stages of their careers and will be 33 next year, prompting rumours of a move to the Chinese Super League.

However, De Laurentiis has issued a firm warning to his current star attackers, telling the duo that they would “sell themselves” should they leave for China.

He said: “I’m absolutely not prepared to make a major effort for them. Each player has a value, depending on where they play, how they play, how old they are and what they do.

“If they want to sell themselves out in China, overpaid to live a life of s*** for two or three years, it’s their problem. I can’t consider China to be competitive. China’s far away. If they consider it to be close, it’s their problem.

“In life, you have to choose whether to be happy and find a job you enjoy doing or work just for money. For me, money is a means and not an end; if it’s an end for them then they should go to China.”

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