United’s priority this transfer window was bolstering their defence. After months of rumours, the Red Devils eventually signed Raphael Varane from Real Madrid for an initial fee of £34 million.
However, this was not before they tried to sign Koulibaly. According to Corriere dello Sport, United made an offer but were put off by Napoli’s asking price.
Manchester United are said to have offered Napoli £30 million for Koulibaly, but the Italians wanted £34.1 million including bonuses for the 30-year-old.
Did Manchester United miss out on Koulibaly?
Koulibaly has been a long-term target for the Manchester club, and was available for £72 million last summer. However, his asking price dropped this year in the wake of Napoli’s financial problems due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
United will not be too disappointed in missing out on the chance to sign Koulibaly, having managed to bring four-time UEFA Champions League winner Raphael Varane to Old Trafford. Varane is also two years younger than the Napoli defender.
Keeping Koulibaly at the club seems to have paid off though. Napoli are one of three clubs alongside Roma and AC Milan to have won all three of their Serie A games so far this season. The most recent of those victories saw Koulibaly score an 85th-minute winner in a 2-1 victory against Juventus. The centre back headed home from just a few yards out.
Koulibaly joined Napoli in 2014 on a five-year contract, for a fee of around £6.5 million. Ahead of the 2015-16 season, the Senegalese was linked with a move to Premier League club Southampton. But, he eventually stayed at the club. Koulibaly then went on to become a regular starter for Napoli under coach Maurizio Sarri. He saw an improvement in his performances and has often captained the side as well.
Koulibaly has on a number of occasions talked about his desire to retire at Napoli. He also said that a departure would only occur due to an economic decision made by the club.
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