Napoli chief provides telling update on defender’s future amid Liverpool speculation

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Napoli sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli has backed centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly to stay at the club, despite interest from Manchester City and Liverpool.

Giuntoli says that Koulibaly is happy at Napoli and still has three years left on his contract with the Italian club. Liverpool and Manchester City have both been linked with a swoop for the defender, but he now looks set to stay at his current club beyond the transfer deadline next month.

Speaking to Sky Sports Italy, “Our squad is complete, so will now try to release players who won’t have much time on the pitch.

“I think Koulibaly is staying, we are very happy and so is he. He has three years on his current deal, I believe he is staying.”

ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT 

Liverpool have little need for Koulibaly in their squad and missing out of him might not have much, if any, of an effect on their season. Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Fabinho are Liverpool’s options at centre-back, with all of them playing a part in the club’s Premier League title success last season.

Fabinho and Van Dijk lined up at centre-back last week against Chelsea and kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win, showing that they have the potential to work well as a pair. Last season, Van Dijk partnered both Matip and Gomez throughout the season and Liverpool had the best defensive record in the entire league.

This suggests that Liverpool do not need to go out and buy a centre-back. The only way in which it could be an urgent need is if two or three of them picked up long-term injuries, but it is impossible to predict injuries and signing Koulibaly just in case does not seem to be worth it given the defensive record of the current options in the squad.