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From Naples: Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho ‘enchanted’ by Napoli star but face €120m fee

He has been a target of Manchester United for a long time, but now Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly could be subject to a Manchester derby with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City showing interest in him.

According to local newspaper Il Mattino, both Guardiola and Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho are ‘enchanted’ by the 27-year-old defender, widely considered to be one of the best centre-halves in Europe.

While City have made no approach for Koulibaly, it is suggested that they are showing a certain level of interest in him, as are United who desperately need to improve their defence.

City are in no such hurry for centre-backs, with Aymeric Laporte and John Stones now one of the best partnerships around, but with Vincent Kompany at the tail-end of his career and Nicolas Otamendi potentially set to consider his future, Guardiola may be in the market for another defender before too long.

Ajax sensation Matthijs de Ligt is known to be on the radar, but with Barcelona among others also chasing the 19-year-old, there is going to be fierce competition for his signature next summer.

Koulibaly will be no easier to secure, with City knowing how hard notorious Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis is to negotiate with. Attempts to extract Edinson Cavani from Naples in the Roberto Mancini era failed, and City were strung along for months last summer as they chased Jorginho, only for Chelsea to sneak in and sign him.

It is claimed by Il Mattino that De Laurentiis will not deal for anything less than €120 million (£108 million) for his best defender, a fee that will likely have to drop for City to make any approach. Manchester United, in their desperation to catch neighbours City, may be more inclined to spend such a sum on the Senegalese defender.

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