Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed that the Italian side rejected a £95m transfer offer from Manchester United for defender Kalidou Koulibaly, while admitting a time will come when he can no longer turn down big money offers for the Senegalese star.
The centre back is one of the most highly rated players in Europe and has long been tipped for a move away from the Stadio San Paolo.
Now ex-Man Utd boss José Mourinho singled out Koulibaly as a potential transfer target at Manchester United, but the Serie A outfit wouldn’t budge from their ‘not for sale’ stance.
“Mourinho wanted him, we rejected £95million,” De Laurentiis revealed at a recent event, quoted by the Express. “But now it’s impossible that he leaves Napoli.”
However, in further quotes to Corriere del Mezzogiorno (via Football Italia) De Laurentiis conceded that while Koulibaly will not be sold in January, a huge money summer offer could change things.
He is quoted as saying: “We won’t sell Koulibaly in January. But the time will come where we can’t refuse other indecent offers.
“In Italy there are two or three clubs with balanced books, and I’m the only one who doesn’t have any bank debt.”
With regards to United’s January transfer plans, I don’t believe anything fundamentally changes on that front. Club’s priority was one CB, likely Kalidou Koulibaly, whether they can get him is another matter, but he’s the calibre of defender that doesn’t need a coach’s approval.
— Chris Winterburn (@cmwinterburn) December 18, 2018
Koulibaly was one of a number of transfer targets that Manchester United were keeping tabs on throughout the summer, along with the likes of Leicester City star Harry Maguire and Atlético Madrid’s Diego Godín.
In the end, Mourinho was unable to bring any new faces that he wanted to Old Trafford and that proved to be a key part of the Portuguese manager’s eventual departure from the north-west on Tuesday.
“The club would like to thank José for his work during his time at Manchester United and to wish him success in the future,” a statement by the club reads.
“A new caretaker manager will be appointed until the end of the current season, while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager.”
As things stand, former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is being tipped to full the caretaker position until the end of the season, where the Red Devils are then expected to appoint one of their long-term managerial targets.