Everton have submitted their first offer to sign Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to Calciomercato.
What’s the latest transfer news on Koulibaly?
Ancelotti has since returned to Real Madrid and been replaced in the Everton dugout by Rafael Benitez. Despite the change of manager, the Merseyside club seem to still be interested in Koulibaly, who earns £195,000-a-week, and they have now made a bid for the 30-year-old, although the fee has not been disclosed in the report.
Have Benitez and Koulibaly worked together before?
They have indeed.
Back in 2014, Koulibaly arrived in Italy to play under Benitez at Napoli. He immediately established himself in the starting line-up, as he racked up 27 Serie A appearances in his maiden campaign to help his side to a fifth-place finish.
This was not enough to keep Benitez in his job, though, as he moved on from the club in the summer of 2015, but the pair could now be reunited six years later at Everton.
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What’s been said about Koulibaly?
Back in 2018, Koulibaly’s fellow countryman and former Liverpool midfielder Salif Diao tipped him to flourish in the Premier League if he ever completes a transfer over to England’s top-flight.
Diao told BBC Sport: “He’s got all the qualities to do well in the Premier League. He’s strong, can play hard when needed, can read the game very well and is not scared to get stuck in.
“Moving to England will be his natural progression. He can test himself in a league where the game is a lot quicker, and he will get personal satisfaction playing against the very best.”
Would Koulibaly be a statement signing for Benitez?
Everton’s 2020/21 season rather petered out in the final weeks as they lost three of their last five games to finish down in a disappointing 10th place.
With Ancelotti also leaving shortly afterwards, it seems that the club need to bounce back in the transfer market to show that they can be a force to be reckoned with next term.
By going after Koulibaly, this could be the statement signing that Benitez needs to prove that Everton are not satisfied with mid-table mediocrity, and that they will be doing everything they can to push for a European place in 2021/22.
Koulibaly has been regularly battling towards the summit of Serie A in recent years, and he could use his experiences in Italy to help Everton start to compete with some of the best sides in the country moving forwards.