Sunday Jul 18, 2021. 09:00
New Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti has spoken of his desire to keep Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly at the Serie A club.
The 30-year-old centre-back is once again the subject of major transfer speculation, with this past week seeing Everton – now managed by former Napoli boss Rafael Benitez – linked with a move for the sought-after player.
However, Spalletti has emphasised that he wants to see both Koulibaly and Lorenzo Insigne – one of the stars of Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph – remain with the Neapolitans through at least the 2021-22 campaign.
“I spoke to Insigne once on the phone. He seemed to be the same captain that I pictured when watching him,” Spalletti is quoted by Tribal Football.
“As for the contract, you in the media are trying to cause problems. We have the captain of Napoli, we know who he is, and the President of Napoli is a businessman.
“These are two strong personalities who at the right time will look each other in the eye and get down to it. Let’s wait for Lorenzo to return, the President will talk to him and everything will be clearer after that.”
Spalletti continued, “Koulibaly is one of the vice-captains in this squad. As far as I am concerned, he is staying at Napoli.
“It’s not easy to find a replacement for him, all his teammates appreciate him and I’ve realised he talks constantly on the pitch. Everyone respects his presence in the locker room.”
Koulibaly has been on the books of Napoli since 2014, making over 280 appearances across all competitions for the club and helping them win the Coppa Italia in 2019-20.