Rafa Benitez signed Kalidou Koulibaly for Napoli from Genk in the summer of 2014 and there is news today that he wants to sign the giant 6’2″ center-back for Newcastle United in the summer.
Benitez was at Napoli for two seasons until he left last year and was then appointed as the Real Madrid manager in June.
When he was released from that job in early January, he was subsequently appointed as the Newcastle United manager on March 11th.
Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli
Newcastle had been linked with Koulibaly all last year but we failed to sign a top center-back last summer and we have paid for that with maybe our second relegation in seven years.
Newcastle were reported to have bid £19M for the player in early January, but that was turned down by the Italian club who said the 24 year was not for sale at that time.
The player was listed as 6’5″ tall in January but he seems to have lost 3″ since then.
As it turned out Newcastle were unable to strengthen their defense at all in January.
Barcelona, Manchester United and Bayern Munich are all said to be interested in signing the Senegal International defender this summer.
Koulibaly was born and raised in France by Senegalese parents, and was eligible to play for both countries.
He played 11 times for the U-20 French youth side starting in 2011, but in early September last year he decided to play for Senegal and made his debut in an African Cup of Nations qualifier against Namibia in the 2–0 win.
If Newcastle can survive relegation this season then we must have a decent chance of getting this player because of Benitez’ connections with Napoli.
Rafa will also know first hand how good this lad is and we will be getting a in a very good player.
Newcastle will also try to sign a left back in the summer to further strengthen their defense.