Rafael Benitez has asked Everton to place Kalidou Koulibaly’s name at top of their summer ‘shopping list’, according to 90Min.
The 30-year-old centre-back has made 283 appearances for Napoli, including 26 in the Champions League (via Transfermarkt). He has twice been named the Senegalese footballer of the year – in 2017 and 2018 – and was recognised as Serie A’s best defender in 2018/19.
Koulibaly played 26 league matches last season, averaging 1.5 successful aerial duels, 1.4 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, 2.2 clearances and 4.8 accurate long balls per game (via WhoScored).
Benitez was in charge when the Senegal defender arrived at Napoli and took charge of the player’s first season there before the Spaniard moved to Real Madrid.
Former Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has described the defender as ‘extraordinary’ and hailed the ‘security’ he offered in front of him (via Goal).
90Min claimed that Benitez and Everton’s director of football Marcel Brands have been working to identify transfer targets, with the new manager wanting Koulibaly to be made a priority.
Benitez is said to view the 30-year-old as a replacement for £18m-rated Yerry Mina should the Colombian leave Goodison Park.
Encouragingly for Everton, Napoli will apparently entertain offers in the region for £35m for a player they once considered untouchable (via 90Min).
A wily operator with ample Serie A and Champions League previous, Koulibaly would take Everton’s defence up a level. Even at 30, he may be worth the money because he could probably perform at an elite level for another few years and could be the foundation for their European charge.
Michael Keane has been a hugely reliable operator for the Toffees, but a truly ambitious club would look to upgrade him. Koulibaly could form an imposing partnership with the exciting Ben Godfrey, and offer the 23-year-old an education in the process.
Everton could again be about to reap the rewards of big-name managers’ past relationships after reuniting James Rodriguez and Allan with Carlo Ancelotti last summer.
In other news, Everton may end up in a bidding war for this target.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience