Liverpool have £36.7m bid for 25-year-old defender rejected – transfer exclusive
Liverpool have joined Chelsea in the race to sign Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli this summer, The Sport Review understands
Liverpool have had a £36.7m (€42m) bid for defender Kalidou Koulibaly rejected by Napoli, The Sport Review understands.
The Reds have joined Chelsea in the race for the signature of the 25-year-old Senegal international but have seen their opening offer for the centre-half turned down by the Serie A side.
The Sport Review understands that Liverpool are ready to offer Koulibaly a five-year contract worth around £54,000 a week but will face a tough task in convincing Napoli to sell the defender.
Koulibaly has been linked with a move to the Premier League in the past and Chelsea are believed to have shown the most concrete interest in signing the defender, with reports in Italy claiming last week that the Blues had failed with a bid of around £53m.
Indeed, Chelsea were heavily linked with a move for the defender last summer soon after Antonio Conte’s appointment at Stamford Bridge – but a deal for him to move to west London failed to materialise.
However, the Blues are now set to face fresh competition from Liverpool for the signature of Koulibaly this summer, according to The Sport Review’s sources.
Liverpool are on the lookout for a number of new signings this summer but the Reds are yet to conclude any official deals aside from the capture of young striker Dominic Solanke from Chelsea.
Jurgen Klopp is understandably keen to bolster his defensive options at Anfield as he prepares his team for a return to the Champions League next season and also aims to oversee a Premier League title challenge.
The Merseyside outfit conceded more goals than any team in the top four last season and the German coach will be keen to shore up his side’s defence ahead of his second full campaign in charge on Merseyside.
Liverpool have already signalled their intention to sign a new defender this summer with their failed pursuit of Southampton star Virgil van Dijk – and the Reds are now ready to turn to Koulibaly.
Koulibaly was a regular fixture in the Napoli team last season and scored two goals in 28 Serie A games for the Italian side.
The Senegalese defender began his senior career at French club Metz in 2010, before moving to Belgium with Genk in 2012. He then signed for Napoli for a fee believed to be around £6.5m back in 2014 and has been a regular fixture in the first team.
Koulibaly made his international debut in September 2015 after opting to represent the African country ahead of France, who he played for at Under-20s level.
One of Koulibaly’s admirers is Argentina and Napoli legend Diego Maradona. The defender posted a picture of the former forward holding up one of his shirts on Instagram in February 2016 and wrote the caption: “It’s an honour for me to meet the idol of so many DIEGO MARADONA (legend) and take a picture with my shirt. I’m so proud!!!’
Liverpool finished in fourth place in the Premier League last season as Klopp steered the Reds to Champions League qualification in his first full campaign in charge on Merseyside.