Napoli president dismisses Barcelona's Kalidou Koulibaly interest

Tom Gott
Barcelona are chasing Koulibaly
Barcelona are chasing Koulibaly / Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has warned Barcelona that they likely cannot afford centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly but admitted that the defender must make a decision on his future soon.

Xavi is keen to sign a new centre-back of his own this summer to follow Andreas Christensen, who has agreed to join on a free transfer from Chelsea, and reports suggest that Koulibaly is the preferred Plan B behind Sevilla's Jules Kounde.

De Laurentiis was asked about Koulibaly's future in an interview with Gerard Romero, and the president wasn't worried about Barcelona's interest.

Barcelona have not asked for Koulibaly and I think Barça don’t have enough money to sign any player," he said.

However, he did leave the door open to a possible exit for Koulibaly this summer if the 30-year-old, who has 12 months remaining on his contract, decides to look for a new challenge.

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"He is a symbol of Napoli, and if he wants to no longer be a symbol, he must decide," De Laurentiis said. "We must decide. we want Koulibaly to stay, but people can’t be forced to stay.

“Everyone has their own dignity and needs. We respect everyone."

Napoli have also been linked with a move for Barcelona's Miralem Pjanic, who will return to Camp Nou this summer when his loan with Besiktas comes to an end.

There have been suggestions that a swap deal could be on the cards, but De Laurentiis was having none of it.

"We’re not interested in any swap deal," he said.