Manchester United have been dealt a blow in their alleged pursuit of Kalidou Koulibaly after the Napoli defender's agent Mogy Bayat insisted that the player will only leave Stadio San Paolo in January if the Italian club want to sell him.
The Daily Star reported earlier this week that Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal had identified the 23-year-old for a possible January move to Old Trafford, but will now probably be forced to turn attention to alternative options following the latest comments made by the player's representative.
In an interview with Radio CRC, Bayat was quoted reiterating his client's commitment to the Serie 'A' outfit, the club he joined in an £8 million deal from Belgian outfit Racing Genk during the summer.
"Foreign scouts are following him every week," he explained. "Before he joined Napoli, he was followed by many important clubs, but Napoli were the first to make an approach.
"Koulibaly is happy to stay in Naples, and even if an important offer came in, he would say no. He has never asked them for a transfer. Between January and June, he will only leave Napoli if the club request."
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Koulibaly has become one of the first names on Rafa Benitez's team sheet after impressing during his brief spell at Napoli in 2014/15.
His ability to play in a number of different positions across the back line has also proved invaluable, and was one of the reasons why Van Gaal wanted to take him to Manchester United, as he looks to strengthen that area of his squad that has been plagued by injuries this term.
However, the Dutch coach's interest in the Frenchman will probably lead to nothing, based on the assumption that Napoli have no plans to cash-in on a player they secured to a five-year contract less than four months ago.