Manchester United and Chelsea are both keeping a close watch on transfer target Kalidou Koulibaly and they have received an unexpected boost from Napoli’s president Aurelio De Laurentiis.
Both of the Premier League sides are on the lookout for a dominant centre-back this summer but have so far been priced out of making a move for Koulibaly.
Napoli have previously insisted they will not sell the Senegal international for less than £90million.
“If City or United or PSG with €100m (£90m) showed up, I would think about it [selling Koulibaly] and it is probable that they [the player] would leave, always if their will was to leave,” De Laurentiis has previously said.
However, that stance appears to have slightly changed as Koulibaly’s valuation has dropped by £9m.
“Kalidou is a wonderful person and of course it’d be sad to lose him,” the Napoli chief told Sky Italia in his most recent update.
“Everything has a time and a place, even when it comes to going our separate ways.
“Having said that, we don’t have €90m (£81m) on the table and in any case, it takes two to separate.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to sign a new defensive partner for Harry Maguire, who joined for £80m from Leicester last year.
Meanwhile, Frank Lampard’s side conceded more goals than any other side in the top 10 this season so he is on the lookout for a John Terry-like figure.
Koulibaly has made both of the Premier League sides’ shortlists but he is not deemed a top priority because of his substantial valuation.
If the price continues to tumble then Chelsea or United may be tempted to make a move.
The 29-year-old, who has also been linked with Manchester City, last month discussed his future.
“In football, you never know what happens. I never spoke to Napoli about leaving,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“If we have to find a solution, we will find it, but I have never talked about the transfer market.
“I also read in the newspapers about my future. But I only want to think about playing, I am 100 per cent [committed to] Napoli and it bothers me to be linked, every day, to this or that European club.
“We will see what the president (Aurelio De Laurentiis) will decide and if he proposes to extend my contract, that would allow me to end my career here.
“At the moment, I still have a three-year contract and I am not thinking of anything else but Napoli.”
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