No matter how much money Juventus may make in a potential Matthijs de Ligt, trying to spin that cash into signing Kalidou Koulibaly was never going to be as simple as it may seem. That’s because of two very large factors — the will of the player who has been with Napoli for nearly a decade and that simple fact of the club Juve would be negotiating with.
And, as you probably guessed, the kind of quotes that Napoli’s sporting director, Cristiano Giuntoli, gave regarding Koulibaly’s future at the club pretty much fell in line with that.
“Koulibaly is a key player for us. There’s no bid from any club. We’ve offered him new deal for €6 million net salary per season plus future role as part of the board. It’s a huge proposal, €60 million gross for Napoli — Koulibaly deserves it all.”
“We didn’t need to tell Koulibaly that we’re not selling him to Juventus — because we consider Koulibaly untouchable and non-transferrable. Koulibaly told us he wants to think about our new deal proposal and explore the options for his future.”
The part about not selling to Juventus — totally expected.
The part about Napoli offering Koulibaly a huge contract extension — totally expected.
The part about Napoli not wanting to lose Koulibaly to anybody this summer no matter how in-demand he very much is — totally expected, too.
All of this is very much expected because Napoli are going to be playing hardball for Koulibaly knowing full well that he is one of the top players in a summer transfer market that is seeing big-time transfer fees for central defenders. Even with his age (31) and the fact that he’s going one more year left on his current contract, Koulibaly is going to attract plenty of attention.
But the “explore options for his future” line still leaves somewhat of a door open to Koulibaly leaving Napoli this summer. With clubs like Barcelona and Chelsea circling as well, there is very much a market for Koulibaly to be had if he does end up deciding to leave Napoli this summer. That would mean trying to fight the uphill battle of trying to convince Koulibaly to go from Napoli to Juventus — something that many in the Italian press has questioned whether he would be willing to do — and prove to be another matter entirely.
But we know all that just like we know it’s going to be a tough-as-hell negotiation with Aurelio De Laurentiis if it comes to that. But for a player of Koulibaly’s quality, it might all be worth it.