Barcelona boss Xavi is ‘lining up a move for Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly if they fail to land main target Jules Kounde’ – and the Senegalese defender could be available for a cut-price free
- Barcelona have identified Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly as a possible target
- Xavi’s priority is to sign Jules Kounde but Koulibaly could be a cheaper option
- The Senegal international is entering the final year of his contract at Napoli
- The Italian side are willing to sell the player this summer but only outside Serie A
Barcelona have identified Napoli center-back Kalidou Kouliably as a potential alternative to Jules Kounde this summer, should the Catalan giants fail to bring in their primary target.
The Senegal international is thought to be open to a move to the Nou Camp, and with Barca still crippled by their own financial crisis, he represents a far more appealing prospect, according to Diario Sport.
There is also the fact that Barca are not the only side bidding for Kounde, and Chelsea are thought to be strong suitors after reports that new owner Todd Boehly is prepared to offer Thomas Tuchel £ 200million and six new signings.
Xavi’s main target is Jules Kounde but he could move for Kalidou Koulibaly if he is priced out
Koulibaly wants to leave Napoli, but he is limited in his options because the Italian side are only prepared to part with their man to a club outside of Serie A.
However, the player is entering the final year of his contract and Gli Azzurri will want to get some money for the defender this summer, rather than watch him leave for nothing in 2023.
The 30-year-old was reportedly trying to engineer a £ 30 million move to Barcelona earlier this month, whilst Chelsea and fellow Italian giants Juventus expressed interest.
Koulibaly has played 317 times for the Italian side since arriving from Genk for £ 6.98m in 2014
Both Chelsea and Barca want Kounde
But Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti has since informed the club of his plan to resign should they sell Koulibaly, according to Sport via Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport.
The Senegalese center-back remains one of the most experienced members of Spalletti’s squad in Naples, having played at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona for eight years
President Aurelio De Laurentiis admitted last month that, whilst Napoli would like Koulibaly to remain at the club, they cannot force his decision.
But if Barcelona are successful in their pursuit of Kounde then a move for Koulibaly is unlikely to materialize.
Koulibaly captained the Senegal side that lifted the AFCON trophy for the first time in 2019
Kounde is reportedly keen to play under Xavi due to the Barca and Spain legend’s ‘desire’ to sign the 23-year-old and is impressed by the manager’s commitment after informing Gerard Pique he had no future at the club.
But it is not as simple as Kounde getting his dream move this summer, and he may have to set his sights elsewhere amid Barca’s ongoing financial issues.
The Catalan giants are waiting to finalize a sale of 10 per cent of their television rights before June 30 so that they can make any major moves in the transfer market, and the move for Kounde is financially unviable until this happens.
Koulibaly’s fine defensive displays helped Napoli to a third place finish in Serie A this season
It’s said that Barcelona have ‘agreed a deal in principle’ with their LaLiga rivals, which would see them pay £ 51million and send a player in the opposite direction.
Barcelona are trying to include American international Sergino Dest in the move – who has been linked to a host of clubs across Europe this summer.
Sevilla are thought to be inclined towards the move, having spent the last two seasons rejecting offers for the young France international.
He played 27 games at the heart of what was the best performing defensive unit in the division