Carlo Ancelotti Talks Kalidou Koulibaly Future Amid Manchester United Rumours

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2019

Napoli's Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly (2ndL) exits the pitch after receiving a red card as Napoli's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti (C) looks on during the Italian Serie A football match Inter Milan vs Napoli on December 26, 2018 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)
MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Kalidou Koulibaly will still be a Napoli player next season, according to manager Carlo Ancelotti. He made the club's stance on his defensive talisman clear, amid rumours linking Koulibaly with Manchester United:

The Red Devils reportedly suggested offering £85 million for Koulibaly, but Napoli want at least £150 million, according to Harry Pratt of the Sunday Mirror. He also noted how Napoli rebuffed Real Madrid's advances after Los Blancos bid £90 million for the powerhouse centre-back.

Napoli's reluctance to part company with Koulibaly is understandable. The Senegal international is a powerhouse who bosses opponents in the air and is rarely beaten for pace on the deck.

Koulibaly is also a natural leader who inspires his teammates by example. Aside from his aggressive defending, the 27-year-old also possesses the technique to be an asset when playing out from the back:

Those qualities helped Napoli finish as runners-up in Serie A for the second season running. Ancelotti's men were 10 points behind champions Juventus, though, and failed to win either the Coppa Italia or UEFA Europa League.

Even so, Koulibaly can feel confident about eventually enjoying success while a manager as accomplished and experienced as Ancelotti stays in charge. The 59-year-old has won the UEFA Champions League on three occasions, twice with AC Milan and Real Madrid.

Ancelotti has also won league titles in three different countries. He'll know how important a complete defender like Koulibaly can be in helping Napoli replicate any of his previous successes:

Unfortunately for Napoli, Koulibaly's consistently strong performances mean interest from Europe's biggest names is unlikely to wane anytime soon. United being keen makes sense since manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad is bereft of marquee talent at the back.

There are doubts about the fitness and form of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, while Eric Bailly has been linked with a move away. The former Villarreal man is said to be a £30 million target of United's Premier League rivals Arsenal, per Metro's Sean Kearns.

Question marks about so many centre-backs will likely see United step up a search for a player to partner Victor Lindelof next season. Pratt named Benfica's Ruben Dias as an option United will consider.

Bailly continues to be linked with a move away from Old Trafford.
Bailly continues to be linked with a move away from Old Trafford.Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Marcos Rojo has told El Dia (h/t Dan O'Toole of the Manchester Evening News) Solskjaer has reassured him he has a role next season. Injuries and discipline have been issues for Rojo, so even if he stays, it likely won't stop United searching for a new centre-back.

However, it's unlikely to be Koulibaly who moves to the red half of Manchester this summer.

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