As the new Premier League season approaches, rumors of Manchester City signing any center back other than Kalidou Koulibaly have gone cold, and that deal appears to be stalling as well.
Manchester City need a center back, and there is no secret about it. With Lionel Messi rumors dominating the headlines over the last four days, City’s stuttering attempt at signing Kalidou Koulibaly has been put on the backburner, but it is of the utmost importance that the club get the deal done.
Although there were once links with Sevilla’s Diego Carlos, Villarreal’s Pau Torres, and Inter’s Milan Škriniar, all of those trails have gone cold, leaving Koulibaly as City’s only option for a new defender heading into next season. Napoli are driving a characteristically hard bargain, and City are refusing to budge, but this impasse is costing the club time and resources.
No matter how the Messi story progresses, City need another defender, and with Koulibaly as the only heavily linked option, it needs to get over the line. Even though several clubs are already in the full swing of pre-season, so much remains up in the air regarding Manchester City. It could be a historic window that leaves City as Europe’s clear favorite with Messi and Koulibaly, or one where the team once again looks seriously weak at the back and not at the level of Champions League contention.
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City have never spent more than £62 million on any one player, which in the past has cost them the opportunity to bring in players such as Virgil van Dijk, and City cannot repeat their mistake with Koulibaly. While they have worked hard to negotiate the price down, the time comes where City need to simply pay whatever solid number Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis is demanding and get the deal done. Napoli have all of the leverage in the situation, as they are under no pressure to sell the player, while City desperately need a defender, and have now put themselves in a corner.
With talks extending this far into the window, I have been openly questioning the likelihood that this deal could fall through, but City must not let that happen. If it does, they will either head into next season without fully addressing the team’s main issue or panic-buying on a different player above market value. Either way, this saga needs resolution, and it will hopefully come soon.