Koulibaly Is Number One Target
Manchester United have made Kalidou Koulibaly and Nicolas Pepe their main transfer targets this summer. But their failure to qualify for the Champions League may impact at least one of those bids.
Napoli centre-back Koulibaly has been watched by United on a number of occasions this season as the Red Devils seek to shore up their ailing defence. However, the Serie A side are likely to demand a fee that would be a club record for United and a world-record fee for a defender.
Koulibaly is rated at €150million (£130million) and is highly rated by Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti.
“The best centre-back in the world? I should say so,” Ancelotti said at the weekend.
“And he can still improve. He is worth €150million and he is not available for transfer. Koulibaly’s contract expires in 2023, in 2021 there’s a €150million clause but Napoli do not need to sell, the president does not want to sell and the question doesn’t come up.”
Napoli have the edge over Manchester United in that they can offer Champions League football although United’s deep pockets mean they can outstrip whatever the Italians offer in wages.
Napoli look set to finish second in Serie A although the gap between themselves and Juventus has widened this season to 23 points.
United Eye Up Ligue 1 Duo
But a lack of Champions League football could affect Manchester United’s pursuit of Lille winger Nicolas Pepe.
The Ivory Coast international is valued at around €50million (£45million) although he is thought to prefer a move to a club playing in Europe’s premier competition.
Once again United’s deep pockets mean they can offer Pepe more money than he can earn elsewhere. He was in talks with Bayern Munich only for the Bundesliga side to cool their interest. Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked.
There are also reports that United could make a move for PSG forward Adrien Rabiot. The 23-year-old has been linked with interest from Barcelona. However, his demands for a €10million a year salary and a €10million signing-on fee, plus his failure to complete the move in January means the Catalan side have lost interest.
Rabiot is out of contract at PSG this summer. However, his failure to put pen to paper on a new deal means he has been sidelined by the French champions and he hasn’t played any football since their Champions League victory over Red Star Belgrade in early December.