Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli has insisted that the club will not be lowering their asking price for centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, despite dealing with the financial pressure of the coronavirus outbreak.
Koulibaly has attracted interest from a number of top European sides, with both Manchester United and Liverpool often named as suitors. But, to date, Napoli’s asking price of around €100m has stopped any deal from coming to fruition.
With the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis set to slash transfer fees across the globe, it was rumoured that Napoli may lower their demands. But sporting directord Giuntoli has rebuffed those suggestions, telling Sky Sport Italia that the club are under no pressure to raise money.
“Kalidou is a great player, who still has a long contract with us,” Giuntoli said. “If we were to sell, the club could ask for a large sum.
“They say negotiations will change, but in my opinion this is an alibi. A player like this cannot change his value even in a crisis, so we are not moving our valuation.”
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Giuntoli did hint that they would listen to loan offers for Koulibaly, but only if the buying team agreed to sign him permanently afterwards. Given the €100m asking price is a problem now, there’s no way any team would be happy with that next summer.
The problem with paying so much for Koulibaly, who is also wanted by Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United, is his age. He will turn 29 years old later this month and so would come with very little resale value.
Even in a pre-coronavirus world, spending €100m on an ageing centre-back would have been tough, but now that seems almost impossible.
Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp told Sky Sports that such expensive deals are incredibly hard to justify in the current situation as clubs are losing money through ticket refunds and the inability to sell tickets, adding that it’s wrong to sign an expensive player while asking your current squad to take a pay cut.
With Napoli ready to stand their ground, it seems as though Koulibaly will be forced to remain in southern Italy for the foreseeable future.