KEY POINTS

  • Arsenal has been linked to Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly
  • Former Napoli player Pepe Reina described Koulibaly as "extraordinary"
  • Koulibaly said he has no intention of leaving Napoli

Arsenal is reportedly making progress in pursuing an “extraordinary” defender from Napoli.

Mikel Arteta’s side has been dealing with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s situation. And while the Arsenal superstar is still caught in the middle of transfer talks, the Gunners have been keen on recruiting young talents.

It has been evident that Arteta appears to be leaning toward strengthening Arsenal’s defense. And now, the Premier League giants have been linked to another highly-rated defender. The Sun reported that Arsenal has already inquired about the possibility of signing Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli ahead of the transfer window.

However, the British tabloid also pointed out that Arsenal could face competition in pursuing Koulibaly as Manchester United, Chelsea and Man City have also reached out to check on his availability.

According to soccer-oriented website HITC.com, Koulibaly’s current side, Napoli, is demanding £80 million ($90.3 million) as a transfer fee for the Senegal central defender. Needless to say, this amount is quite overwhelming for Arsenal, given that the club has just let David Luiz sign a new contract with them. The North London outfit is unlikely to spend loads on a central defender this summer.

Arsenal has struggled defensively this season, and the addition of a tight defender such as Koulibaly seems to be a smart move. The 29-year-old has emerged as one of the best central defenders in the world today. He has been at the top of his game and could really make a brilliant signing for the Gunners.

Koulibaly’s former Napoli teammate, Pepe Reina, even referred to him as “extraordinary” back in April on TMW.

Third time lucky: Mikel Arteta won his first game as Arsenal manager at the third time of asking Third time lucky: Mikel Arteta won his first game as Arsenal manager at the third time of asking Photo: IKIMAGES / Ian KINGTON

Despite the possible financial issues, Arsenal is still considered a club that has the capability to sign Koulibaly. However, the player himself will not make it easy for any team as he had just shut down talks of a move away from Napoli.

Koulibaly told Gazzetta dello Sport that he currently has no intention of leaving Napoli and is even hoping to end his career at the club.

“I never spoke to Napoli about leaving. If we have to find a solution, we will find it, but I have never talked about the transfer market,” Koulibaly pointed out.

“I also read in the newspapers about my future. But I only want to think about playing, I am 100% [committed to] Napoli and it bothers me to be linked, every day, to this or that European club,” he added.