Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly has responded to recent rumours linking him with a move to Manchester United or neighbours City.
Earlier this week The Independent reported that the Manchester clubs were set to go head-to-head to land the 29-year-old, whose asking price has reportedly been slashed to around £70 million.
But in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport (via Goal.com), Koulibaly played down the speculation and revealed his intentions in regard to staying in Italy.
‘In football, you never know what happens. I never spoke to Napoli about leaving. If we have to find a solution, we will find it, but I have never talked about the transfer market,’ he explained.
‘I also read in the newspapers about my future. But I only want to think about playing, I am 100 per cent Napoli and it bothers me to be linked, every day, to this or that European club.
‘We will see what the president will decide and if he proposes to extend my contract, that would allow me to end my career here.
‘At the moment, I still have a three-year contract and I am not thinking of anything else but Napoli.
The Senegalese international was then pressed on whether he would stay at Napoli for the rest of his career.
‘I wouldn’t say no. But I don’t want to deceive anyone. We know how things are in football. Maybe you say you stay for life and then you are sold.
‘So I tell the fans that I will give 200-300 per cent while I wear this shirt. I have a special relationship with the people of Naples, a pure feeling.’
Whilst leaving the door open for a transfer, Koulibaly’s words certainly put paid to reports that he is unhappy at his current club, which will come as a blow to his pursuers. But it still remains the case that Napoli will be hard pushed to keep paying his circa £200,000 per week wages if they do not qualify for next season’s Champions League, which seems probable given that they are 14 points off fourth place in Serie A with only seven games left to play.
It also remains the case that at 29, Koulibaly is a valuable asset capable of commanding a large sum of money at a difficult time. Once he turns 30, his value will drop considerably.
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