Transfer Talk: Liverpool want Napoli’s Koulibaly to form elite centre-back combo

The January transfer window may seem like a distant memory, but that doesn’t mean the rumour mill has shut down! Speculation over summer moves is heating up so check out the latest gossip below, and see all official deals here.

TOP STORY: Liverpool interested in Koulibaly

Bild football writer Christian Falk has reported that Liverpool are interested in trying to sign centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli.

It’s no secret that the Reds have had their fair share of injury problems this season and it’s hit them particularly hard from a defensive standpoint, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all out currently. Van Dijk is set to return in the next few months, however, and Liverpool finally want to give him the centre-back partner he’s been waiting for.

Jurgen Klopp added Preston’s Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak (on loan from Schalke) in January but won’t want to turn down the chance to land a world-class operator.

Koulibaly, 29, has been linked with a move away from Napoli for a few years now — will Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Manchester United interested — and it finally seems to be close to becoming a reality as Italian outlet Il Mattino claims the Serie A side will lower their desired €100m fee to sign the Senegal international to just €45m.

Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
ESPN+ viewer’s guide: Bundesliga, Serie A, MLS, FA Cup and more

LIVE BLOG

10.42 GMT: Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun is set to leave the club when his contract expires this summer, reports the Daily Star.

Balogun, 19, has scored seven goals in 14 Premier League 2 matches this season and bagged two goals in the Europa League for Mikel Arteta’s first team. However, German clubs RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen are hovering and the youngster looks likely to leave.

According to Football.London, Arsenal will offer 18-year-old Kido Taylor-Hart a new deal after he netted six goals and four assists in nine appearances at Under-18 level.

09.31 GMT: Manchester United want Eric Bailly to prove his injury problems are over before committing the defender to a new contract, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

Bailly, signed from La Liga side Villarreal for £30m in 2016, has managed more than 20 appearances in all competitions in just one of his four years at the club. This season, the 26-year-old has missed 63 days and 13 games through injury.

Solskjaer is an admirer of Bailly and has been impressed with his performances alongside captain Harry Maguire, in particular during a run in the team through December and January as United moved to the top of the Premier League. Bailly started seven of United’s nine games between Dec. 23 and Jan. 20, with Solskjaer’s team winning six and keeping four clean sheets.

Bailly will enter the final year of his existing deal in the summer and his representatives have been contacted about the possibility of agreeing fresh terms, sources said. There remain concerns about how often he is ruled out through injury, however, and Solskjaer is keen to sign a left-footed centre-back in the summer transfer window.

09.00 GMT: ICYMI – Senior figures at Chelsea believe they can tempt Borussia Dortmund and tempt Erling Haaland into moving to the Premier League this summer, according to ESPN sources, as a growing number of Europe’s heavyweights plot their moves.

Sources told ESPN that Chelsea feel there are several elements in their favour, not least an attractive financial package, but also the prospect of Haaland becoming the centre-piece of a young, expensively assembled team.

Chelsea spent £220 million on six players last summer but there are indications behind the scenes that owner Roman Abramovich is willing to sanction further spending this summer. Chelsea are the only club in London with a realistic chance of signing Haaland and sources said the capital city could be a major draw for the striker, in addition to the club’s ambition to win the biggest trophies every year.

play

1:37

Steve Nicol feels Gareth Bale still needs to do more at Tottenham despite his two goals in their 4-0 win vs. Burnley.

PAPER TALK (by Harry Kettle)

Tottenham look to Torino‘s Lukic

Tottenham are weighing up the chance to secure the signing of Torino midfielder Sasa Lukic, Tuttomercatoweb reports.

Spurs are set to have a busy summer transfer window with Jose Mourinho attempting to make wholesale changes in an attempt to win some silverware in North London. RB Leipzig‘s Marcel Sabitzer was initially pinpointed as their primary target, but now their attention has reportedly shifted towards Lukic.

However, the expectation is that there’s going to be a lot of competition for the 24-year-old’s signature once the summer rolls around.

Wolves open to offers to sign Traore

The Daily Mail is reporting that Wolverhampton Wanderers are willing to listen to offers for winger Adama Traore this summer.

The 25-year-old Spain international hasn’t quite had the same impact this season as he did last season, but many Wolves fans still consider him to be an integral member of the first-team squad.

Alas, after considering accepting a deal for around £70m last year from suitors Manchester City and Barca, it seems as if they’ll have to settle for something much lower this time around, according to the report.

Tap-ins

– Napoli are leading the race to sign Mattia Zaccagni, Calciomercato reports. The Hellas Verona midfielder is a wanted man and is expected to depart the club in the upcoming window. Unfortunately for Napoli, they don’t have the move nailed down yet and with AC Milan potentially making a move of their own if Hakan Calhanoglu doesn’t re-sign, it’s game on.

Werder Bremen are contemplating a move to try and sign Abdou Harroui, Bild reports. The Sparta Rotterdam midfielder, 23, has been at the heart of his team’s impressive successes so far this season and Bremen believe that he would strengthen their side in the middle of the park.