As AS has learned, FC Barcelona has once again contacted Kalidou Koulibaly’s agent, Fali Ramadini, to ask him for a little more patience and not to move yet with the Italian club about the renewal offer he has on the table. And it is that the Blaugrana club maintains its interest in the Napoli center-back intact, whose contract ends in 2023 and who has Xavi Hernández as his greatest supporter.
For some time now, Barcelona has been monitoring the steps of the Senegalese international, who is considered the ideal center-back to reinforce Xavi’s project, both because of his forcefulness and ability to get the ball under control. In addition, other virtues of the defender are highly valued, such as his speed, ability to anticipate, and power in the air. For many club technicians, he would be the perfect replacement for Gerard Piqué, who has one more season left in the best of cases.
Many in Barcelona rub their hands thinking about the defensive tandem formed by Araújo and Koulibaly in the central zone for the next five years, also having Eric Garcia and Andreas Christensen as alternatives, thus fulfilling the coach’s mandate with two players from quality in every position. The sacrifices would be the French Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet.
The problem in Koulibaly’s exit operation is that Napoli will not give him away, far from it, even if he only has one year left on his contract. The first contact between both clubs has not been very positive: the Italian club remains intransigent in the 40 million euros, without accepting any player as barter or to make the operation cheaper.
With the player, yes, everything is quite advanced, with the promise of a contract until 2026, when he turns 34.
In any case, given the volatility of the market, Barcelona is touching other keys, although without excessive conviction, such as the one we already noted in the newspaper a week ago when sounding out the options of the Milan central defender, Alessio Romagnoli, who would arrive for free at finish contract this summer. An attempt was also made with Chelsea’s central defender, Antonio Rüdiger. Still, his high financial claims, close to 12 million euros net per season, ruled out the operation.
Despite this list of names, Xavi’s priority in the central zone is still Koulibaly. His arrival would not stop the agreement with Andreas Christensen, with whom his signing had already been closed. Still, it would be a reinforcement that the club considers necessary to settle the sports project.