Koulibaly on Liverpool links: Naples loves me

Martin Macdonald
Koulibaly on Liverpool links: Naples loves me

Kalidou Koulibaly says he is remaining calm despite continued speculation linking him with a move from Napoli to Liverpool.

Over the past year or so, transfer talk surrounding Koulibaly intensified, with Liverpool and Manchester City believed to have been vying for his signature, with Pep Guardiola’s side looking favourites for the transfer over the summer.

Corriere dello Sport reported last month that the Napoli defender was “certain” he would be leaving for City. However, despite drawn out negotiations, the move never happened, with the Premier League runners-up reportedly unwilling to match Napoli’s £72m asking price.

That didn’t stop Man City embarrassingly announcing Koulibaly as a new summer signing on their official website – despite the fact it was Ruben Dias of Benfica who was recruited.

Fast-forward a few months and it is now Liverpool who are looking to complete a deal for the Senegal international after Virgil van Dijk suffered a knee injury that will see him miss most of the 2020/21 campaign.

Jurgen Klopp sees Koulibaly as an eventual partner for Van Dijk, but for for this season at least he will come in as the Dutchman’s replacement.

Van Dijk v Koulibaly – 2020/21 so far

STATVAN DIJKKOULIBALY
Tackles Won P900.71.2
Duels Won P904.14.6
Aerials Won P902.91.4
Pass Completion90%89%
*League form only

The player himself has kept relatively quiet about any Liverpool interest thus far, and kept his cards close to his chest again when asked about a potential Napoli exit over the weekend.

“I love Naples and Naples loves me, that’s the most important thing,” the 29-year-old said via 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.”

Koulibaly was speaking after Napoli’s 2-0 loss at home to Sassuolo on Sunday which was their second defeat of the season. They have won their other four matches, and currently sit fifth in Serie A.

He currently has a 86 FC Rating on FootballCritic.