Exclusive: Manchester City Ready to Activate Kalidou Koulibaly's £100m Release Clause

Tom Gott

Manchester City officials are prepared to spend heavily this summer to try and re-establish their dominance in English football, with Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly one of their top targets.

Pep Guardiola's side lost star defender Aymeric Laporte to a serious knee injury back in August, and having declined to sign a replacement for Vincent Kompany, John Stones' injury problems and Nicolas Otamendi's deficiencies, City have found themselves short at the back.​

Reluctant to ever let his side end up in a similar situation again, 90min has learned that Guardiola has made it clear to ​City executives that he wants a new elite centre-back at the club before the start of next season.

With that said, next summer City are prepared to activate Koulibaly's release clause, which is believed to stand at around £100m, and club officials are determined that they will not be beaten in the race for the ​Napoli man's signature.

They will face competition from both ​Chelsea and ​Tottenham Hotspur for the 28-year-old, but City are prepared to fight their way to the front of the queue.

The ​Premier League trio will also butt heads in their respective pursuits of ​Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell. 90min reported back in November that ​Guardiola had grown frustrated with current option Benjamin Mendy, with Chilwell his preferred replacement.

Both Koulibaly and Chilwell are expected to cost more than City's current transfer record - the £62.8m signing of Rodri from ​Atlético Madrid - and could even total a combined £200m if City choose to pursue both.

City's hierarchy are aware that such a spending spree is necessary to avoid falling further behind league champions-elect ​Liverpool, who already sit 14 points clear of the Cityzens with a game in hand.

City are desperate to move back to the peak of English football once more, or at least close the gap on their rivals next season, and they see a huge summer spending spree as the only way to do so.

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