Aston Villa have reportedly entered a battle over Kalidou Koulibaly, with Barcelona claimed to be in “advanced talks” for the defender..
The Napoli centre-half has been consistently linked with a move away from the Italian side following his impressive displays in Serie A. The 30-year-old arrived from Genk in 2014 and has since made over 300 appearances for the club, where he is now vice-captain.
Reports in Italy have previously claimed that Steven Gerrard “wants to sign” the centre-half. However, it has now been suggested that Villa are competing with Barcelona for Koulibaly’s signature.
It has been reported by Spanish outlet AS that Barcelona are “closing in” on a deal for the Napoli stalwart, in a move touted to be worth in the region of £34m. The Catalan club are said to be in “advanced talks” with the centre-half, even offering a contract until 2026, though it is claimed that Napoli are yet to agree to the move.
Villa still allegedly “want to bring” Koulibaly to the Premier League, according to HITC, with the defender labelled “one of the best in Europe”. Despite interest from Barcelona, it is reported that Villa “can hijack” the move for Koulibaly by swiftly reaching an agreement with Napoli.
The club have been regularly touted with bringing in centre-halves in recent weeks. Matthias Ginter was reported to be a target prior to signing for Frieburg, while Mainz defender Jeremiah St. Juste has also been linked .
Steven Gerrard opted for a centre-back pairing of Tyrone Mings and Calum Chambers in Villa’s win over Norwich last weekend. The Villa boss also has Ezri Konsa and Kortney Hause at his disposal but has already made it clear that the club will be active in the transfer market this summer.
“No-one at Aston Villa is satisfied with this season’s points tally or how the journey’s gone, if you like, but what we’ve done is analysed every department at the club, every individual and it’s a really big summer,” Gerrard said . “We need to reset and we need a good, strong pre-season.
“We know we need to recruit well to add some help and support to the current players, and then we’ll judge it moving forward.