Italian Serie A giants Napoli are said to be in the market looking for the replacement of defender Kalidou Koulibaly who is linked with a move to Aston Villa next term.
The Senegalese has spent eight years with the Italian outfit after signing from KRC Genk. Napoli produced €6.5m for the towering center back under former manager Rafa Benitez at a tender age of 23.
Koulibaly has increased his ratings in the transfer window after recording 317 appearances for the Azzurri in the particular duration of the Italian top flight league.
The defender has 60 international caps to his name. He helped Napoli win their first silverware after six years with the 2020 Copa Italia trophy. Koulibaly was also key to the Senegal squad as they won the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations with the Lions of Teranga in Cameroon in February for the first time.
Napoli are in the race to sign Leo Ostigard with Brighton & Hove Albion requesting more than the €3m (£2.5m) plus bonuses bid as the top ranks in Napoli prepare for Koulibaly’s exit.
Calciomercato also reports that Aston Villa had already submitted a bid for the defender in May but it was rejected.
Napoli President Aurelio Di Laurentiis suggested a new contract that would have seen Koulibaly take a pay cut, slashing his €6 million-a-season (£99k-a/w) to €3 million (£49k-a/w) as he seeks to reduce the wage bill at the club.
It is believed that if Koulibaly rejects the deal, Napoli may be forced to let him go for €35m (£30m).
Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard is looking for a means to bolster his squad next season with an eye on finishing in the top 10 zone of the English Premier League table.