Manchester United have had a world-record bid for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly rejected according to reports in Italy.
Corriere dello Sport are reporting that United bid £91m for the centre back. The proposal was rejected out of hand by Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, with the club intending to hold onto their prized asset.
The deal would have seen Koulibaly become the most expensive defender in world football, eclipsing the £75m Liverpool paid to bring Virgil van Dijk to Anfield.
Jose Mourinho has continually condemned his club's failure to sign a central defender during the summer transfer window, feeling that the board's failure to back him in this regard has contributed to United's poor start to the season.
Harry Maguire and Jerome Boateng were reportedly the two players coveted by Mourinho, with both deals failing to materialise.
While Mourinho may feel that his defence is not up to scratch, much of this comes down to the manager himself. Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof have been brought in for big fees during his tenure, and both have so far proven to be poor siginings. In all likelihood, the board may have been hesitant to allow Mourinho to sign another high-priced defender due to his poor recent track record.
They seem to have backtracked on their reluctance however, with Koulibaly now the focus of United's attentions.
The Senegal defender has been in remarkable form for Napoli over the past couple of seasons, and is widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the game at the moment. A colossus at the back, the 27-year old has also greatly improved his ability on the ball in recent times.
In fact, he has the completed the second most passes in Serie A this season.
Most accurate passes in Serie A this season:
🥇 M. Brozovic -- Inter (818)
🥈 K. Koulibaly -- Napoli (791)
🥉 M. Pjanic -- Juventus (764)https://t.co/x7C9pK8Ce8 pic.twitter.com/k6LEpUOySu
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) November 20, 2018
He would be a fantastic signing for Manchester United, and would assuredly strengthen what has been a uncharacteristically leaky Jose Mourinho defence. Napoli are clearly reluctant to let him go however, and it will likely take a monstrous transfer fee for them to change their minds.