Manchester City are reportedly looking at La Liga duo Diego Carlos and Jose Maria Gimenez as alternatives to Napoli centre-half Kalidou Koulibaly.
For most of the transfer window City have been linked with the signing of Koulibaly, despite bringing one centre-back into the team in the shape of former Bournemouth player Nathan Ake.
However Napoli and their president Aurelio de Laurentiis have remained firm in their €80m valuation of Senegal international Koulibaly.
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Now a fresh report from The Guardian says that City are looking at alternatives because they don’t want to pay that high a fee for a player who is approaching his 30s.
The report says that they are instead looking at Sevilla’s Diego Carlos and Jose Maria Gimenez of Atletico Madrid.
The pair have release clauses of £68.7m and £109.8m and are aged 27 and 25 respectively. City would try to negotiate a fee below both players’ release clauses.
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Koulibaly is an exceptional player, quite possibly one of the best central defenders in the world, he is right up there with Virgil van Dijk.
However City’s reported apprehension makes sense. When Liverpool broke the transfer world record for Van Dijk the Dutchman was 26, but Koulibaly is 29.
City would hope that Koulibaly would have a similar effect that Van Dijk had, but is it worth paying that price when he may only be at that level for three or four seasons? Particularly when either Gimenez or Carlos would theoretically be able to play at the highest level for longer.
The argument for taking the risk is two-fold. Firstly, Koulibaly is a better player than either Gimenez or Carlos and they may never reach his level, particularly the latter.
Secondly, whilst Koulibaly is older than other options he has more experience and is a great, if quiet, leader. City might be hoping that he can help take Ake’s game to an even higher level, which would mean they weren’t in a tough spot when age catches up with Koulibaly.