Kalidou Koulibaly Worth Triple Harry Maguire's Cost, Says Aurelio De Laurentiis

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 9, 2019

NAPLES, ITALY - MAY 19: Kalidou Koulibaly of SSC Napoli celebrates the victory after the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and FC Internazionale at Stadio San Paolo on May 19, 2019 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)
Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis has valued central defender Kalidou Koulibaly at triple the £85 million Manchester United spent to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City this summer. 

Speaking to ESPN FC, De Laurentiis remarked upon the premium prices paid for players by Premier League clubs, suggesting Koulibaly would cost a top English side £250 million if valued in line with Maguire:

"He has a clause of £150m. But, for example, in England, they paid £85 million for a player. In Napoli, I would pay £30-£35 million. With that in mind, I think Koulibaly's value is £250 million if they paid that much for that guy.

"The problem of the super cost of the players is due to England. In England, they gross more money than in France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

"If a club grosses £800 million, they have no problem to offer around £80 million, £90 million, £100 million for one player. There is not a real good and fair competition between England and the other countries."

Leicester stood firm in their opinion that Maguire, 26, was worth a new world-record transfer fee if he was to leave the King Power Stadium. They eventually secured a figure surpassing the £75 million Liverpool paid to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in January 2018.

Though unlikely, The Athletic's Liam Twomey had previously suggested Leciester reinvesting their money in Koulibaly:

Liam Twomey @liam_twomey

Imagine if Leicester just went out & used the Maguire money on Koulibaly...

The Senegal international has regularly been linked with Europe's powerhouses—particularly those from England's top flight—for several years now.

It's not the first time De Laurentiis has used hyperbole to ward off interest in his defensive gem. Koulibaly, 28, joined Napoli from Genk in 2014 and has cultivated a reputation as one of the best centre-backs in Europe, leading his club to successive second-place finishes in Serie A the past two seasons.

Many might agree Koulibaly is a superior defender at present—though perhaps not three times the defender—but age is at least one advantage Maguire holds over his Napoli counterpart. 

Paul Hirst of The Times detailed why United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was so determined to secure Maguire as his centre-back upgrade this summer.

Maguire has signed a six-year contract at Old Trafford—with the option of an extra year—and football writer Sam Pilger detailed Solskjaer's logic in pursuing the England international:

Sam Pilger @sampilger

While there was fleeting interest in De Ligt and Koulibaly, Harry Maguire was always Solskjaer’s first choice for a central defender. He was wanted for his leadership, pace, confidence in possession, goal threat and commanding presence. #mufc

Many might not agree Maguire deserves a higher transfer fee than 2019 Ballon d'Or contender Van Dijk—perhaps rightly so given the Dutchman's instant impact delivering success to Liverpool. 

However, De Laurentiis' valuation of around £35 million for Maguire also looks slightly insulting.

Statman Dave hailed Koulibaly's elite numbers and goal-saving contributions during an encounter against Inter Milan in May:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Kalidou Koulibaly’s game by numbers vs. Inter: 100% take-ons successful 100% tackles won 84% pass accuracy 11 ball recoveries 10 clearances 3 interceptions 3 blocks Elite. 👏👏👏 https://t.co/Oly4CwuuJi

De Laurentiis will be glad to see another Premier League transfer window deadline pass with Koulibaly still part of Napoli's squad. Serie A's transfer window doesn't close until August 23, but the chances of him leaving are much slimmer now that a move to England is off the table.

Maguire could make his United debut at home against Chelsea on Sunday when the Red Devils begin their 2019-20 campaign.