Manchester City: Zinchenko agent willing to listen to Napoli

As Manchester City look to seal a Kalidou Koulibaly deal, Oleksandr Zinchenko’s agent indicated that they would listen to being part of a swap.

On the eve of a new Premier League season, Manchester City still have major questions to answer in the transfer market with the deal for Kalidou Koulibaly failing to progress. A swap deal could be in the interest of both clubs, and Oleksandr Zinchenko’s agent has made it clear that they would consider moving to Serie A as a makeweight for the transfer.

Zinchenko’s conversion to left-back has been a passion project for manager Pep Guardiola, although the Ukrainian is coming off a difficult 2019/20 season. At the moment, I believe he is City’s third-best option at the position, but given the issues Benjamin Mendy has had with consistency and injury, depth is important at fullback.

Coupled with the club’s recent transfer of Angeliño to RB Leipzig, swapping Zinchenko and cash for a Koulibaly transfer could be complicated. João Cancelo should be City’s main choice to partner Kyle Walker at both fullback spots, but he is not a natural left-back and would leave City short on depth at both spots if Walker was injured and Zinchenko was gone.

Therefore, a deal of this sort only makes sense if Napoli are willing to overvalue Zinchenko in a swap, which is unlikely given Aurelio De Laurentiis’ infamously hard-bargaining tactics and the bad relations between the two clubs. A prime example comes in the form of City’s move last summer for Cancelo, in which they were able to use Danilo, who had a troubled career in Manchester, in a transfer for one of football’s best young fullbacks while paying just £27 million. Essentially, Juventus’ valuation of Danilo in the deal was just under £40 million, well above what his performances merited.

I value at Zinchenko at £20-25 million, so a similar deal would look like Zinchenko going to Napoli along with £40-45 million for Koulibaly. To meet Napoli’s reported £75 million valuation for the Senegalese defender, they would have to overvalue Zinchenko by about £10-15 million.

I would personally take this deal, but given Napoli’s negotiation style, I believe they would want to keep City’s current cash offer the same and simply use Zinchenko to close the gap. Therefore, their version of the move would look closer to Zinchenko plus £65 million. This means they would rate Zinchenko at £10 million, well under what I believe he is worth. If it is the only way to get in Koulibaly, it is worth it considering the importance of signing a defender and the lack of reported alternatives. However, much like the Angeliño sale, it is far from a great bit of business.

City must consider all options and are surely aware that a defender must come in if they are to achieve at the levels they desire. Keeping Zinchenko would be ideal, but if Napoli are willing to budge, it could be a shrewd move for the Blues.

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