‘It’s almost done’ – Man City correspondent provide update on Koulibaly’s move to the Etihad

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Manchester City correspondent for The Athletic, Sam Lee has provided an update on Kalidou Koulibaly’s potential move to the Etihad.

Despite the £41m capture of Ake from Bournemouth already this summer, defenders remain the priority. It’s clear that Guardiola needs to find a quality centre back pairing for Aymeric Laporte.

The Citizens have been negotiating with Napoli for several weeks over their asking price, with Aurelio de Laurentiis looking to make at least €90m after turning down €100m last summer.

City have already personal terms with the player and are now just looking to agree on a deal with Napoli. It is understood City had offered as much as £63m, leaving the two clubs far apart in terms of the final fee.

According to Sam Lee on The Athletic’s Manchester City podcast, Why Always Us?, Koulibaly’s move to City is “almost done” and that if the club do not manage to complete the signing of Koulibaly then “they will have really had a shocker”.

He said: “I think it’s almost done. I’ve said before, the whole Koulibaly thing, the reason I think they will get it done is because they’ve said before, they don’t want another ‘Harry Maguire’. In the sense of Koulibaly, that means they’ll pay up eventually. That’s why I think they’ll get it done.

“You would say that by haggling for so long, it is risking another ‘Harry Maguire’, or even another ‘Jorginho’, especially as it’s Napoli.

“I think the difference now is, apart from obviously Chelsea are spending these kind of figures, you’re not going to have many clubs who could come in and say: ‘Well, City aren’t paying this figure, we will pay it.’ So, I think that’s why City think they can afford to be a bit more casual with it.

“I’d heard earlier in the summer that [Aurelio] De Laurentiis had told Koulibaly that he could go for €80 million, so I was thinking, ‘Okay, for City, if they get to €70 million, plus a couple of bonuses, that’ll do it’, but apparently what De Laurentiis has been telling City is that he wants €90 million.

“If I’m going to put my neck on the line and guess, I don’t think it’d be too much longer before they get something done and if they don’t, then they will have really had a shocker, but I do think they will.”

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