Manchester City are set to up their pursuit of Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly after seeing a €70m (£62m) bid for Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez rejected.
The Citizens are desperate to add another centre-back to their ranks this summer as they look to regain their Premier League title in 2020/21.
They acted swiftly to sign Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake in a £41m deal following the conclusion of the 2019/20 season, but the Dutchman has seemingly been signed as a rotation option rather than a bona fide starter. City are still in search of a main partner for Frenchman Aymeric Laporte.
Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla reports that City briefly turned their attentions to Atleti defender Gimenez but are now set to continue their pursuit of Koulibaly after seeing their £62m approach for the Uruguayan rebuffed by Los Rojiblancos.
The poor relationship between Napoli and City, following failed negotiations to bring Jorginho to the Etihad in 2018, means talks for the Senegalese international are progressing at a slow rate.
Italian journalist and TV presenter Paolo Esposito (via Sport Witness) understands City are ‘playing lowball’ in discussions over a potential deal and are yet to offer anything close to Napoli’s asking price.
“We all know that [Napoli president] Aurelio De Laurentiis is a tough guy, who doesn’t let anyone blackmail him, even less the City that is playing lowball,” Esposito is quoted as saying.
“The real figure he has offered so far is not the one that has appeared on some media! Pep Guardiola has actually offered Naples only €55m and €5m in add-ons.
“Aurelio De Laurentiis, at these figures, is holding it tight and doing well, I add.
“If City doesn’t release €75m plus €3m in add-ons, the Senegalese will see it [the Champions League] through a telescope!”
Fabrizio Romano, meanwhile, reports that Napoli are readying themselves for a new bid from the Manchester club next week, which is understood to be close to their valuation.