Manchester United have once again been linked with a move for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
The Senegalese defender has been linked with a move to the Premier League for a number of years, but Koulibaly has always remained in Naples.
The 29-year-old has a contract with the southern Italian side until June 2023, and club patron Aurelio De Laurentiis always commands a high figure for his most valuable talents.
According to reports in Spain, Koulibaly is finally ready to leave Napoli this summer, after seven years. It’s thought that United is his preferred destination.
But does any potential move make sense for the English club?
United’s current defenders
Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly remain Man Utd’s first-choice central defensive pairing. However, Bailly is vulnerable to injuries, with his last several campaigns being curtailed due to numerous fitness problems.
Victor Lindelof is usually the first pick to deputise for either Bailly or Maguire, but the Swede has yet to convince for the club.
United have other defenders currently on the club’s books, in the shape of Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. However the latter two are thought to be surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.
The purchase of Koulibaly would be a massive upgrade on what the club currently possess, given his stature as one of the best defenders in the world.
Koulibaly’s ball distribution, in addition to his aerial ability and command of his teammates, would be particularly valuable to a defence that is extremely fragile at times.
A partnership consisting of Koulibaly and Maguire has the potential to be one of the best in the Premier League, should the move happen.
But with Napoli demanding €100m for Koulibaly, will United meet their valuation?
Will Koulibaly leave Napoli?
However one of the few negative aspects of signing Koulibaly is his age. He will he be 30-years-old at the end of the current campaign, and will have little-to-no resale value once his time at Old Trafford comes to an end.
Despite the recent reports surrounding his future, Koulibaly remains emotionally tied to the city of Naples, and in October declared he was happy at the club.
“I love Naples and Naples loves me, that’s the most important thing,” he told Sky Sports.
“I always make myself available game after game, I still have three years of contract, I’m calm, the teams are looking for me but I’m still here.
“I play at my level and I help this team and these people because I want to give something back to them then we’ll see what happens.”
However should Napoli falter in their title challenge this season, and given how competitive Serie A is at the moment, a failure to at least finish in the top four could see the club finally decide to cash in on their most prized asset.