Everton are set to target Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly this summer, as per Football Insider.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti previously worked with Koulibaly during his time in Serie A, and appears to have identified the centre-back as an ideal signing to bolster Everton's backline.
He's said to be top of the club's target list as Ancelotti looks to sign a 'world-class' centre-half.
Price-tag and contract situation:
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis claimed in January that Koulibaly would not be sold for less than £100m in a bid to fend off interest from elsewhere.
However, he turns 30 this summer and will have two years remaining on his current contract, suggesting that Everton may be able to get him for a cheaper fee in the next transfer window.
The 43-cap Senegalese defender has appeared in 20 top-flight matches this term. He has enjoyed another solid campaign, with Gennaro Gattuso's men conceding just 29 league goals - only Inter Milan and Juventus have shipped fewer.
Koulibaly's total of 18 shots blocked in Serie A puts him clear in this category when compared to his teammates.
He is also good with the ball at his feet, having recorded a pass success rate of 89%. Yerry Mina is the only Everton defender with multiple appearances to better Koulibaly in this department as his percentage is up at 89.8%.
During his time in Naples, Ancelotti was full of praise for Koulibaly. Speaking to Tuttosport via Football Italia in 2019, he made it clear that he viewed the centre-back as a special talent.
He said: “Yes, I think he is the best defender in the world. And he has more room for improvement.
“He’s worth €150m and he’s not for sale."
Ancelotti will hope that he can tempt Koulibaly away from Serie A for a far cheaper price than €150m this summer.
The Italian coach has been able to rely on the English trio of Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate this year, as well as Mina to cover the heart of Everton's defence.
Yet the Toffees have still conceded more goals than any other side inside the top half in 2020/21, indicating that they do need a senior figure to come in and tighten up this area.
Koulibaly looks to be the prime candidate for this role - it wasn't long ago that he was being touted as a key transfer target for Manchester City and Manchester United.
He has been a dominant presence at the back for Napoli in his seven years at the club, and appears to be at his peak right now.
Bringing him over to Goodison Park would be a major coup for the club, and could act as a statement that the side want to establish themselves as a top six team on a consistent basis over the coming years.News Now - Sport News