Napoli president concedes Koulibaly sale inevitable despite turning down €105m
The man in charge of the Italian side is aware he'll have to cash in on the club's star defender at some point
The man in charge of the Italian side is aware he'll have to cash in on the club's star defender at some point

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has admitted there will be a time when he will have to sell star defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Koulibaly has established himself as one of the best and most in-demand defenders in the world since joining Napoli from Genk in 2014.

The 28-year-old Senegal international was heavily linked to Manchester United before the Premier League giants signed Harry Maguire in a world-record transfer prior to the transfer window closing.

Koulibaly continues to be linked to United and when asked about Napoli's centre-back, De Laurentiis told Sky Sport Italia a future sale is inevitable.  

"I loved Koulibaly the man so I refused €105 million, but a time will come when I'll have to sell him," he said. "Whoever says we didn't improve our defence is wrong."

Asked about recent transfer speculation, Koulibaly admits he's used to getting plenty of attention and knows how to shut it out.

"I’m used to it," Koulibaly said. "So many [stories] come out each day, which say I’m leaving. Right now, my only objective is to win with Napoli. I don’t care about the rest.

"Our objective remains to beat the best teams in Italy and win the Scudetto. This season is more difficult because all the teams have got stronger and Serie A has become more competitive.

"We must think positively and be aware that we can do well. My objective is to help the club and team win a trophy now."

Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz is also attracting plenty of interest amid links to La Liga pair Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Fabian swapped Real Betis for Napoli in a €30m deal in 2018-19 and the Spaniard has starred in Serie A.

"Fabian's always been a top player," De Laurentiis said. "If I convince myself to pay a stranger €30m, I do it for a reason and now I know why.

"It's one thing to play for your country and another to do it for a team who play every three days. We found Fabian, but we'll find more like him. The door's always open. I don't get attached to players."

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