Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has responded to rumors of interest in center-back Kalidou Koulibaly and says Barcelona have not been in touch with the Serie A side.
De Laurentiis also claimed he does not think Barcelona can afford to land the Senegal international amid speculation he’s wanted by Xavi at the Camp Nou.
It’s been reported that Napoli want around €30m for Koulibaly, who is out of contract in 2023, and that Barca could offer Miralem Pjanic to try and drive the price down.
However, De Laurentiis is having absolutely none of it and doesn’t want to talk about swaps either.
Here’s what he’s had to say:
Napoli president de Laurentiis tells @gerardromero: “Barcelona have not asked for Koulibaly and I think Barça don’t have enough money to sign any player”. ⚠️ #FCB— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 20, 2022
“We’re not interested in any swap deal”, de Laurentiis said about Pjanić rumours. pic.twitter.com/nFHXFbuRUz
The comments come just hours after De Laurentiis had appeared to open the exit door for Koulibaly when asked about the center-back’s future.
“He is a symbol of Napoli, and if he wants to stop being a symbol, he’s the one who needs to decide that. We want Koulibaly to stay, but it’s not like you can force people to,” he said.
“Everyone has their own dignity and their own needs. We respect everyone, do you know that I haven’t ever forced anyone to stay, even with a few years left on their contract?
“The only person I forced, and whom I greet because he’s a dear friend, is Walter Mazzarri, after two years he told me he wanted to leave, I told him he would stay. He did and gave us four years of satisfaction.”
Source | Football Italia
Koulibaly has also been talking about his future this week. The defender told Onze Mondial, “I would not cause an argument to leave the club. If I ever did leave Napoli, I would do it on my terms.”