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Napoli’s boss Aurelio De Laurentiis has spoken out about the transfer situation of Kalidou Koulibaly, which sounds like bad news for Liverpool and other interested clubs.
However, he hinted that the Reds have shown interest in the past in fellow Napoli defender Nikola Maksimovic and suggested that they could revive that interest due to his back injury crisis.
This is according to a report from talkSPORT, with host Jim White explaining his conversations with De Laurentiis about the Koulibaly Liverpool speculation.
Maksimovic may not be as big a name as Koulibaly, but Liverpool could certainly do worse in terms of transfer coverage for their current crop of injured center-backs.
The Reds have endured a difficult season without star player Virgil van Dijk, while Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have also spent time on the sidelines.
This has led to midfielder Fabinho replacing the defense, while even Jordan Henderson has had to back down there as well, so it might be worth a try for a player like Maksimovic, even if De Laurentiis says the club has yet to returned to him, even if his words suggest that he has been anticipating it as a possibility.
“There is not a window in the last two, three or four that we don’t see big mentions of Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly,” White said.
“This morning, I spoke with Aurelio De Laurentiis, the owner of Napoli, and I said, what about your player, are there offers for him?
“He laughed saying it’s not for sale. It’s not for sale at all unless one of the big clubs in England makes £ 100 million.
“Then he says ‘I thought you were referring to our defender Nikola Maksimovic, the Serbian who is 29 years old and Liverpool’s previous interest in him.’
“So I said ‘are Liverpool still interested in your defender?’ He interrupted me to say of course with injury problems to Gomez and Van Dijk but no, they haven’t heard from them lately.
“But it seems that this time Koulibaly is not going anywhere. He stays and that was as recent as this morning. Anyone who comes in with more than £ 100 million for Koulibaly can forget it. “