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Napoli Reportedly Turn Down £91M Manchester United Offer for Kalidou Koulibaly

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2018

NAPLES, ITALY - NOVEMBER 28:  Kalidou Koulibaly of SSC Napoli in action during the Group C match of the UEFA Champions League between SSC Napoli and Red Star Belgrade at Stadio San Paolo on November 28, 2018 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)
Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Napoli have reportedly knocked back a €103 million (£91 million) bid from Manchester United for Kalidou Koulibaly.

According to Corriere dello Sport (h/t Goal), United made an offer to make Koulibaly the world's most expensive defender, but Napoli want to keep him at the club and swiftly turned it down.

It is not the first time the Red Devils are said to have had an approach dismissed.

Italian outlet La Repubblica (h/t the Mirror's Jack Rathborn) reported in November that United had seen an £80 million bid rejected, with Napoli chief Aurelio De Laurentiis hoping for a higher figure, but it seems the Partenopei are still reluctant to part with their star centre-back.

It's easy to see why they're desperate to keep hold of him—and equally why United are prepared to splash out such a large sum—as he's a phenomenal player.

A man-mountain, Koulibaly's impressive physicality stands out even among other defenders, and it's rare to see him outmuscled or outjumped.

The 27-year-old has taken his game to another level since he arrived in Napoli in 2014, though, as he has become a technically proficient player on the ball.

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He's comfortable bringing it out from the back, and he can pick a pass, too:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Most accurate passes in Serie A this season: 🥇 M. Brozovic -- Inter (818) 🥈 K. Koulibaly -- Napoli (791) 🥉 M. Pjanic -- Juventus (764) https://t.co/x7C9pK8Ce8 https://t.co/k6LEpUOySu

Koulibaly has added goals to his game as well. Having found the net just three times in his first three seasons in Naples, he scored five times last season.

Overall, he has developed into one of the best centre-backs in Europe, and he has shown as much during Napoli's UEFA Champions League campaign this season, per football analyst Dave O'Brien:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Kalidou Koulibaly's Champions League so far by numbers (4 appearances): 89% tackle success rate 88% pass accuracy 12 clearances 8 interceptions 6 tackles won 6 blocks 4 aerial duels won 2 clean sheets Elite CB. 🙌🙌🙌 https://t.co/AdgeUZ4qRl

For a United team that have kept just two clean sheets in the Premier League this season—and conceded 21 times in their 13 matches—his arrival could have a transformative effect on their defending.

Liverpool made Virgil van Dijk the world's most expensive defender when they splashed out £75 million on him in January, and they've kept 18 clean sheets in his 40 appearances.

Prising Koulibaly away from Napoli will be difficult, but if any player could justify such an enormous fee, he can.  

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