Liverpool need to sign a centre half and their top target was, and still is, Virgil van Dijk. If the club believe that transfer cannot be salvaged, though, there will need to be a Plan B, and based on scattered reports in the spring, that plan could well involve a move for Napoli’s 26-year-old centre half Kalidou Koulibaly.
By all reliable reports, Liverpool haven’t gotten to the stage of fully moving on from Van Dijk yet, but that hasn’t stopped the rumour mongers in Italy from talking about the possibility of Koulibaly this week—with a few going so far as to make the highly suspicious claim a bid of £36M has been made and rejected.
Koulibaly is a player that interests Liverpool, as well as other top clubs in England in Europe. As such, he has also been linked with Chelsea in recent weeks, though again with the rumours coming entirely from the Italian end. As a result, the player’s agent was asked about a potential transfer today on Napoli’s Radio CRC.
“Every day you can read about another interested club,” Emanuele Giulianelli said, hitting out at the Italian press’ ability to spin ever grander and more convoluted transfer stories at an unmatched rate. “In terms of rumours, you in Italy are top of the world, but it’s nonsense. And you don’t do it only with Kalidou.”
It doesn’t mean Liverpool couldn’t move for Koulibaly, and his agent acknowledged he’s spoken to them—and to Chelsea—as part of the job of an agent with multiple clients is to talk with the top clubs around Europe. It’s probably safe to say, though, that any talk of a bid being made and rejected is, at the very least, premature.
From a Liverpool perspective, given the continuing uncertainty surrounding just where they stand with Van Dijk, and with Southampton occupied by a search for a new manager, it’s likely to be some time before the club make a final decision—but there won’t be a bid for another centre half while Van Dijk remains a possibility.
“There’s a healthy working relationship with Napoli,” Koulibaly’s agent added. “Chelsea and Liverpool? I always talk with these kinds of clubs, but about all my clients, not just Kalidou. I do my job, and we’re in the transfer window. Big clubs are looking for players, and Napoli have a lot of good, in-demand players.”