According to Italian news sources, Napoli turned down an audacious bid of €65m from Manchester City for centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly during the last few days of the summer transfer window.
Pep Guardiola has been open about his interest in adding another centre-back to their senior ranks, with Eliaquim Mangala not fancied by the Spaniard.
Jonny Evans was the option that the sky Blues publicly pursued, though they were eager not to overpay and after Tony Pulis held firm on his stance, a deal for the former Manchester United defender went cold.
Chelsea made a €55m (£50.4m) offer for the Senegalese international around this time last year and Napoli have once more rejected another improved offer.
It’s understandable, especially given City’s late attempts and the fact that the Serie A side rate Koulibaly, 26, very highly indeed.
He signed a new contract extension twelve months ago, penning a deal to the summer of 2021 in Naples. Koulibaly’s agent, Bruno Satin, revealed in a radio interview that his client wanted to stay as he maintains a strong ambition to win the Scudetto.
“Kalidou stayed because he has a strong contract and he knows that with these teammates and this staff they can have important ambitions and try to win the Scudetto.”
City’s hopes of Premier League success have almost been pinned down on keeping Vincent Kompany fit throughout the campaign. The club captain, 31, is an influential figure at the back and his presence within Pep’s backline is invaluable – though his injury record? Horrible.
Since the start of the 2015/16 campaign, he has sustained eleven injuries on separate occasions – ruling him out of action for 392 days and counting, he is currently sidelined with a ‘minor’ calf injury.
The fact that Napoli have been drawn in the same UEFA Champions League group as City doesn’t help matters either, with Maurizio Sarri eager to avoid strengthening a European rival as he continues to build an ever-improving team with the Partenopei.