When the potential new owners of Newcastle United were linked with a move for Kalidou Koulibaly a fortnight ago, most Toon fans probably spat out their corn flakes in amusement.
He’s widely considered to be one of the world’s best centre-backs and a player destined to join a Man City or Man Utd should he come to the Premier League.
I’m still struggling here, but Sky’s man in Italy, Gianluca Di Marzio, has now told Sky Sports that the prospective new owners DO want to sign the Senegalese star – and even claims the Napoli powerhouse “could be interested” in a move to Tyneside should a Saudi takeover go through.
Here’s what Di Marzio has had to say on Sky Sports:
‘Newcastle United’s prospective new owners want to sign Kalidou Koulibaly if they are allowed to buy the club by the Premier League.
‘Koulibaly is likely to leave Napoli this summer and he is valued at €80m (£70m).
‘The centre back could be interested in moving to Newcastle if the Saudi-Arabian takeover of the club goes ahead.
‘Mike Ashley has agreed to sell Newcastle for £300m to a consortium which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. The deal can only be completed if it passes the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test.
‘Koulibaly has been watched closely by clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur.
‘Newcastle have the potential to become one of the biggest clubs in the world under new owners. That economic power could convince Koulibaly to accept the challenge of a move to St James’ Park.“
Even though Sky Sports are now suggesting he is on their radar and *might* be tempted should ambitious new owners arrive, this still feels like a link we should be taking with a huge pinch of salt.
One factor that may play into our hands is the fact he turns 29 next month, so may well be eager to test himself in the Premier League while he remains in his prime, however it goes without saying that a big managerial appointment, a huge bid and an astronomical wage packet would be needed to convince him.
Comments that are hard to ignore from Sky Sports, but talk of such elite-level signings should probably wait until this £300m deal is officially done.
Only then should we start dreaming of what might be possible with the combination of Mike Ashley out and the richest owners in world football in.