Updated: Mar 1
Manchester United have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Kalidou Koulibaly with Napoli ready to accept an offer for the centre back, but will have to stump up no less than £85million to make the transfer happen.
The Old Trafford club have been chasing the highly-coveted Senegalese international for some time but have so far failed in bids for his services.
It has been previously been reported that United would need to pay his £127million release clause to sign Koulibaly, but the asking price from club president Aurelio De Laurentiis now stands at £85m, according to Corrie Dello Sport via SportWitness.
The Italian newspaper report that this valuation is so firm that De Laurentiis ‘will not even answer the phone for anything less’.
The 28-year-old has been much-loved in Naples during his six year stay but has endured a difficult relationship with the club chief and has been linked with moves elsewhere, with Paris Saint-Germain believed to want him as a replacement for Thiago Silva, who is nearing the end of his contract.
PSG's director Leonardo has reportedly already held talks with the player's agent, and the club may be willing to offer Koulibaly a huge four-year £10.2million contract.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is apparently ready to hand the defender a big contract of his own and make him the highest paid player at the club as he looks to shore up his backline over the summer.
Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester City are all believed to also be in the running, but the Manchester and Paris clubs are thought to be the front runners.
It is not the first time the Norwegian boss has spent big on a defender after United signed Harry Maguire for a reported £80m last summer after turning their attentions away from Koulibaly.