14/07/2021; 9:12 AM By : Steven D. Thompson
Kalidou Koulibaly is one of the best defenders in world football. Yes, the Senagalese born Napoli centre back is 30 years old, but he can still keep pace with the best strikers in the world. He has worked for new Everton boss Rafa Benitez before, and as his time at Napoli comes to an end, 90min.com reports that he will have no qualms in joining him at Everton for the new Premier League season.
They also add that Rafa Benitez has spoken to the Board of Everton and requested that Koulibaly be his first acquisition for the new season. In his time at Napoli, Benitez became very well acquainted with the defensive juggernaut, who became a stalwart of his defensive line in his time there.
Covid-19 has seen a drop in all players’ value, and Koulibaly has been no exception. If Everton decides that Koulibaly is within reach for next season, a transfer fee of approximately £35 million with Napoli could be enough to secure his services. The Senegal international has long been regarded as one of the world’s finest defenders and has never been short of suitors in his many seasons at Napoli, with Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool all having shown interest over the years.
During those years, Napoli has always stuck to their guns and refused to reduce the value of their exceptional asset, which club president Aurelio de Laurentiis has always stated that he would not sell Koulibaly for less than £100 million. This summer, however, the Covid virus and its effect on gate receipts have changed the landscape, with the Serie A club in need of funds. Therefore, they are ready to sell one of their prized assets for a transfer fee of approximately £35 million to bring in some much-needed income.
Despite becoming more miserly in the latter half of the last year’s Premier League season, Everton’s defence was very poor in the first half, and Benitez would want more consistency this season. Jordan Pickford has been a revelation in EURO 2020, but Mason Holgate, Michael Keane and Yerry Mina have been inconsistent last season, good in parts, poor in most parts. Ben Godfrey has been the exception, having been good or better for most of last season.
Rafa Benitez ultimately wants to strengthen his defence and bring in an experienced leader to partner England international Godfrey at the centre of his defence. Koulibaly ticks all those boxes, and alongside a more consistent Pickford could form the beginnings of the type of miserly and consistently good defences that winning teams are built on.