“I can’t force him to stay,” Napoli president on the future of Barcelona and Chelsea-linked Kalidou Koulibaly

Barcelona have been keeping tabs on Kalidou Koulibaly for several years now, but their wait could finally be over this summer, as hinted by Napoli’s president.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis attended the presentation of Race for the Cure, a charity contest for the fight against breast cancer, on Thursday. During the event, a few questions, including one about the uncertain future of Kalidou Koulibaly in Naples, were asked to the Napoli chief.

De Laurentiis was quoted by TuttoMercatoWeb as saying:

“He [Kalidou Koulibaly] is a symbol of Napoli, and if he wants to no longer be a symbol, he must decide. 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, do you understand that I forced someone to stay, even with a few years of contract?

“The only one I obliged, and whom I greet because he is a dear friend, is Walter Mazzarri: after two years he told me he wanted to leave, I told him he would stay. He did it and he gave us four years of satisfaction.”

The 30-year-old defender has been linked with a move away from Napoli numerous times in recent years. But with De Laurentiis asking for high valuations in return for the centre-back’s permanent signing, an exit for the Senegalese has never come to fruition.

In the 2021/22 season, Koulibaly has continued to impress with his dominating defensive displays. He has also registered three goals and two assists to his name from 26 Serie A appearances.

Several reports suggest that Barcelona and Chelsea remain interested in signing the defender this summer. Koulibaly’s current contract at Napoli runs out in June 2023.

Jyotirmoy Halder

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