Man City bitterness over Chelsea transfer could stop them landing top target | Football | Sport
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has revealed he is finding it difficult conducting talks with Manchester City over a possible sale of Kalidou Koulibaly because they are still bitter over how the negotiations for Jorginho went down two years ago.
Pep Guardiola has made it his top priority to find a world class centre-back this summer as he attempts to close the gap to Liverpool.
Koulibaly has been identified as a key target and Napoli are willing to sell the Senegal international for around £80million.
However, City are still angry at Napoli for not selling them Jorginho in 2018, despite having a gentleman’s agreement.
Instead, the Serie A side did business with Chelsea and that has left a sour taste in the Blues mouth.
“How can we have a normal and calm negotiation with Manchester City to sell Koulibaly?” De Laurentiis said.
“They won’t talk directly with us because of the Jorginho deal two years ago.”
The onus is on City to make contact with Napoli if they want to sign the 29-year-old.
“When there are important offers, we will sell,” De Laurentiis added.
“Koulibaly and [Arkadiusz] Milik are both on their way out, transfer market permitting.
“So, if the transfer market allows us to sell these two excellent players, we will know how to replace them. If not, then we’ll discuss it again next year.”
Napoli are not desperate to offload their stars but if their price tag is met then they will not stand in the players’ way.
“Kalidou is a great person, I would be terribly sad to lose him,” De Laurentiis explained. “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.”
In anticipation of Koulibaly leaving, Napoli are upping their efforts to sign a replacement from Arsenal.
“We are working on signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Arsenal, we consider it an option,” De Laurentiis said.