Barcelona’s interest in Napoli center-half Kalidou Koulibaly is no more a secret. But the fact that his current contractual situation presents Barcelona with a perfect market opportunity to pounce is one.
Spanish publication SPORT believes the towering defender has been a priority for Barça for long. But now that his deal is expiring in 2023 and he has no intention to sign an extension, his market value has tumbled to just €35 million.
For Barcelona, they are working on reinforcing other departments, such as strengthening the offence as well as the full-back positions. On top of that, they are also negotiating with several suitors to bring in a pivot who can replace Sergio Busquets in the long run.
At the same time, however, Xavi has prioritized signing a defender who can acquire the left side of central defence and hence comes the option of chasing Koulibaly.
While Barcelona are willing to explore this opportunity, they know negotiating with Napoli will be tough, although they are hoping to leverage his contractual situation which might force the Serie A team to at least consider the offers.
It’s not that Napoli have not tried extending the defender’s deal. The player, however, is adamant about leaving, and SPORT says his priority is to don the royal blue of Blaugrana.
The 30-year-old has been approached by the likes of Paris-Saint Germain and Manchester City in the past, but the teams failed to reach an agreement since Napoli refused to do any business below their asking price of a minimum of €65 million.
This has left the veteran defender extremely frustrated and now that he has refused to sign an extension, Napoli will be forced to sell him for half the price or they will be at risk of losing him for free.
Barcelona plans to get an upper hand by offering a player in return, and the personnel in question is a certain Miralem Pjanic who spent his best playing years in Italy.
As of today, Barcelona are approaching the deal with extreme caution because they know they will have to vacate some space in order to sign someone new.
With the likes of Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen already on the way, players such as Oscar Mingueza, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti should be sold.
Now, Mingueza may find a suitor, but deals for Lenglet and Umtiti could get complicated due to their salaries. The entire process is very much complicated, but the operation to sign Koulibaly is already underway.