Tottenham Hotspur have begun talks with Napoli and Senegal centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly’s agents to talk about a potential move to the club this summer.
What’s the word?
The report also suggests that 57-cap Senegal international has made it clear to Napoli that he wants to leave in the summer, a move in which the Serie A are willing to sanction due to the good relationship between Koulibaly and the club.
Chelsea and Juventus are also said to be in the mix for the 30-year-old’s signature, though Barcelona are thought to be ahead in the running with a fee of €35m (approximately £30m) thought to be the Serie A club’s asking price.
More viable than Bastoni
Forza Italian Football editor Conor Clancy has previously described Koulibaly as “phenomenal” and he “improves any team.”
Spurs have also been linked with Alessandro Bastoni this summer, with Conte desperate to add strength in depth to his backline.
However, Alasdair Gold has hinted that whilst Bastoni would like to play under Conte, he is in no rush to leave Inter Milan which could throw the move into jeopardy, suggesting that Koulibaly might just be the more viable option for the club this summer.
There is little to split the two centre-backs in terms of stats, although the Senegal international’s tackling figures are superior to Bastoni’s for the Serie A season just gone, with Koulibaly having won 43 tackles in 27 starts, in comparison to the Inter Milan man’s 35 in 29 starts, according to FBref.
The current Napoli man’s blocks and interception stats also trump that of his Inter Milan counterpart, with Koulibaly producing 51 blocks and 40 interceptions this campaign, in comparison to Bastoni’s 40 blocks and 38 interceptions, according to the same stats provider.
As well as this, despite Koulibaly (30) being seven years Bastoni’s senior, the Senegal international may just have the top-level experience and nous that could make his adjustment to the Premier League that little bit simpler than it would be for Bastoni, who would be playing outside of his home country for the first time in his career.
In terms of average performance across the campaign, it also seems that the current Napoli man has outperformed Bastoni, with Koulibaly’s WhoScored rating for the season coming in at 7.00, whilst the Inter Milan man can only rate at 6.83, further suggesting that Koulibaly might be the safest option for Conte this summer.
As well as this, the Napoli superstar is likely to take less of a chunk out of Spurs’ budget this season, with the rumoured cost of Bastoni to be around £54m, which is £24m less than that of Koulibaly.
Overall, whilst the signing of Bastoni would no doubt be a top-class addition for Spurs, Koulibaly would be the ideal investment should they be priced out of the Inter Milan man, with the Senegal icon likely to prove a cheaper and more viable alternative.