Ready for another transfer rumor? I’ve got one for you and it’s from a top tier source. Italian football journalist and transfer rumor super source Gianluca Di Marzio was on Sky Sports today doing a Q&A about the transfer window and dropped this gem when asked about potential targets for Tottenham Hotspur this summer:
"Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly could be one of their most important targets. There is a very good feeling between his agents and the Tottenham chairman." #THFC— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) April 28, 2020
Read the answer in full and follow tonight's takeover live here: https://t.co/w4mVgUuB65 https://t.co/gPb0L6GEcq
So reading that made my eyebrows rise, I won’t lie. Koulibaly has been on a Tottenham CB wish list for what feels like forever, but he’s also on the lists of probably half of Europe. Di Marzio is a pretty darned good source as far as transfer rumors go, so if he says there’s a good relationship between Koulibaly’s agents and Daniel Levy, then I don’t have much of a reason to doubt it.
However, before we get too excited, let’s take a closer look. Koulibaly is unquestionably a good central defender, but he’s 29 and still has three years left to go on his Napoli contract. Now, it’s possible that COVID-19 has put Napoli in a financial bind such that they’re willing to sell him to recoup some losses, or he might be making noises that he’s ready for a new challenge, I don’t know. There’s a scenario where it wouldn’t cost too much money to get him from Italy, but he wouldn’t be cheap — he was priced at > €100m as recently as last summer.
And in a world where we could get Koulibaly for [air quotes] cheap and he’d want to play for Jose Morinho, it’s likely that there’d be other clubs who would be able to outbid Spurs — he’s already linked with Manchester United and Barcelona, for example. Newcastle is also linked with him with that sweet, sweet Saudi oil money, and so there’s also a chance that Spurs are, again, being used as a stalking horse to drive up his price even further, and we still have no idea what the market will look like or how much money Spurs will have to spend when things settle down in the world.
It’s not out of the question that he’d be a legitimate target for Tottenham. Spurs landed Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele last summer mostly because for whatever reason there weren’t any big clubs who wanted to make a move for him. That could happen here, too! But while it’d be a pretty sweet signing that would definitely help shore up Spurs’ defense in a post-Vertonghen world, I wouldn’t start to squee quite yet.