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Liverpool steal a march on Manchester United in the race for £89m world-class star

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Liverpool ahead of Real Madrid and Manchester United in Kalidou Koulibaly race

According to Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Daily Mail), Liverpool are ahead of both Real Madrid and Manchester United in the race to sign Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

The 28-year-old has firmly established himself as one of the best defenders in the world. The Italians value him at £89million and will not compromise on the price. This will make the Senegalese star the most expensive defender in the world, not to mention Liverpool’s record signing.

Napoli are willing to listen to offers for the player once the summer transfer window opens. According to the report, Liverpool are leading the line because of their willingness to add Dejan Lovren as a makeweight.

Kalidou Koulibaly is linkled to Liverpool

Kalidou Koulibaly would form an unbreachable wall alongside Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool

The Croatian’s contract at Liverpool expires in 2021. He has been linked with a move away this summer in search of first-team football.

Koulibaly, who has had an injury-hit season, is contracted to Napoli until 2023. He has made just 21 appearances this season.

The Reds will be intimately familiar with the defender, having played against him four times over the course of the last two years. He helped the Italians keep two clean sheets and prevail in both the matches. Having caused our attack numerous problems, he is sure to have left an impression.

A luxury rather than a necessity

Liverpool already have a formidable centre-back pairing in Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. Signing Koulibaly will give us another colossus at the back, but will come at the cost of Gomez.

Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk are a formidable duo

Signing Koulibaly will hurt Gomez’s progression

The 22-year-old has shown he has what it takes to become a leading defender in world football. The Senegalese’s addition will only hamper his growth.

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Although partnering Koulibaly with Van Dijk would be a dream, he will not come cheap. It makes no sense for Liverpool to invest heavily in a defence that is already the best in the league.

Koulibaly is more of a luxury rather than a necessity. Liverpool do need an upgrade on Lovren but do not need to pay through their noses for a player who just isn’t what they are looking for.