Out of nowhere, Manchester United have been linked again to Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
The reports are not really very reliable though. Let’s take a look…
The claims were made by Italian journalist Fabio Santini on Il Processo on channel 7 Gold, report Area Napoli.
Santini is alleged to have said: “Kalidou Koulibaly will go to Manchester United for 70, perhaps 75 million euros.
“This deal, of course, will not close immediately, but in June.”
Santini’s claims were rebutted on the show by pundit Gianluca Vigliotti.
Vigliotti said: “Kalidou Koulibaly already sold to Manchester United? No, it does not appear to me. I am not saying that he remain in Napoli, but at the moment, for what I know, Aurelio De Laurentiis and Cristiano Giuntoli have not found an agreement with any team to sell the strong Senegalese defender. We will see what will happen in the future.”
The case against
It would be extremely unlike Manchester United to clinch a deal months in advance for any player.
United even appear to have entered this transfer window without a plan, with interest in Bruno Fernandes being reactive to Sporting’s desire to sell him and the club’s own injury problems.
Koulibaly will be 29 in June, just one year younger than Chris Smalling. It is hard to see the club dropping a major fee – worth £64 million – for a player so close to his thirties unless it is deemed absolutely necessary.
United also would not make a decision like this now without seeing how Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly perform in the second half of the season.
If the duo struggle with injuries then it might make sense to add another centre-back, but if one or both of them step up as the reliable, dominant defenders they are capable of being, a move for Koulibaly is especially unlikely.
Rumours have life for months
Like a crackpot theory which say the world will end in 2030, it seems very unlikely, but you can never truly discount it until the year 2030 has passed.
Napoli are not having a good season and it makes sense they might finally choose to cash in on a key asset.
So this rumour might have a bit of life to it until the summer window passes.
We don’t believe it to be at all true that United have struck a deal in advance, for the reasons above. But just keep an eye on Koulibaly’s situation entering June.
It is easy to dismiss this altogether, but maybe don’t discount United considering Kouliably as an option in the summer if Tuanzebe and and Bailly take a further step back in terms of reliability.
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