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Napoli president willing to allow defensive star to leave the club amid Barcelona links



Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Barcelona have received a massive boost in their pursuit of Kalidou Koulibaly this week, following the comments of Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Koulibaly is believed to be one of Xavi’s two desired defensive targets this summer as the Barcelona head coach looks to bring in another centre-back, in addition to Andreas Christensen.

Barcelona have tried their hand with top target Jules Kounde, even reportedly tabling a player plus cash deal offer. But Sevilla are likely banking on a cash-only deal as they have a hole in their budget it needs to be filled.

Kounde’s precarious situation has made Koulibaly the likely defensive target for Barcelona. With his contract at Napoli expiring at the end of next season, he is a much more realistic option considering the fact that the Senegalese international will not command a hefty price tag.

However, Barcelona’s pursuit of Koulibaly was hinging on whether or not Napoli would allow him to leave the club at the end of the season.

But that has been sorted following the comment of Aurelio De Laurentiis, the Napoli president, who has confirmed the club won’t hold back, should Koulibaly opt to leave Naples this summer.

When asked about the defender’s future, De Laurentiis said (h/t Tuttomercatoweb): “He is a symbol of Napoli, and if he wants to no longer be a symbol it is he who must decide.”

The Napoli president doubled down on his desire to keep hold of Koulibaly but clarifies that the defender has his fate in his own hands.

We want Koulibaly to stay, but it’s not that people can be forced. Everyone has their own dignity and needs,” he added.

Kalidou Koulibaly himself is yet to confirm whether he wants to leave the club this summer, but with Barcelona waiting in the wings, it won’t be surprising to see the defensive stalwart taking the next step in his career by joining the Catalans.

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