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Napoli president De Laurentiis opens door to Koulibaly sale amid Man City links

21:03 BST 31/07/2020
Kalidou Koulibaly Napoli 2019-20
The Senegalese defender has been heavily linked with a move to Etihad Stadium in the summer transfer window

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has opened the door to selling Kalidou Koulibaly amid rumours of interest from Manchester City.

Goal has learned that Koulibaly has been identified as a top transfer target by City ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, with Pep Guardiola desperate to bolster his defensive ranks after missing out on a third successive Premier League title.

The Blues are already closing on the £40 million ($52m) signing of Nathan Ake from Bournemouth, who will provide much-needed cover at the back, but the club are still on the lookout for a more experienced performer to slot straight into the team at centre-half.

Koulibaly certainly fits the bill after another stellar campaign at Napoli, during which he has already racked up 32 appearances in all competitions.

The 29-year-old has established himself as one of the top defenders in European football since moving to Stadio san Paolo from Genk in 2014, and he helped the club clinch the Coppa Italia with a final victory over Juventus last month.

The Senegal international still has three years left to run on his current contract, but he refused to move out a summer transfer when quizzed on his future last week.

“I would love to stay at Napoli for life, but I can’t make promises," Koulibaly told Radio Kiss Kiss .

Although De Laurentiis would be reluctant to sanction a prized asset's departure, he concedes that a deal could be arranged if an appropriate offer is forthcoming later this summer.

The Napoli chief told Sky Italia : "Kalidou is a great person, I would be terribly sad to lose him. But there is a time for everything, even to move apart. 

"But the €90m is not on the table and so it takes two to make a deal."

One man who looks certain to leave Stadio San Paolo before the start of next season is Arkadiusz Milik, who has turned down the chance to extend his stay at the club beyond 2021.

However, De Laurentiis has warned the Polish striker that he could end up spending a year on the bench if Napoli's valuation is not met by any potential suitors.

"He is on the market as always. He has not responded for as long as we've offered a contract extension. So this action will lead to his departure," the 71-year-old said of Milik's current situation.

"Whoever has the best offer will take him, there will not be discounts handed out to anyone. Otherwise, he risks staying at Napoli and probably remaining out of the coach's selections."