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REAL MADRID

Koulibaly set for the spotlight as African Cup of Nations looms

Kalidou Koulibaly, defensa central senegalés del Nápoles.

CARLO HERMANN

AFP

The central defender is waiting to hear the Senegal squad announcement and with Sergio Ramos future in the air, he could be set for a summer of speculation.

Kalidou Koulibaly is set for a summer in the spotlight. In Italy, they remain adamant that Real Madrid are interested and they will have to move fast if they want to sign the defender as a potential Sergio Ramos replacement. He will play in the African Cup of Nations and these tournaments tend to inflate prices of players.

The 27-year-old's valuation is already through the roof and when you consider the hard negotiating tactics of Aurelio de Laurenitiis, Real Madrid will have to dig deep to sign the star from Napoli. They have already had a bid of €90 million turned down according to del Corriere dello Sport and Carlo Ancelotti, Napoli's manager, believes he is worth €150 million.

Aliou Cissé, Senegal's manager, has not named his squad for the tournament but Koulibaly but the central defender is a lynchpin in their defence. It was the current manager who gave Koulibaly his debut in 2015 and he has relied on him ever since.

Could Koulibaly become the most expensive defender ever?

This is the first time the African tournament will take place during the transfer market, with it taking place in Egypt from June 21 to July 19. Add to that the Copa America, Gold Cup, along with the finals of the Nations League and the European under-21 and under-20 World Cup and it will be hectic for clubs to arrange meeting times with players scattered all over the globe on international duty.

The player, who shares an agent with Luka Jovic, has a valuation of between €50 and €70 million by CIES and KPMG believe it is in the middle with €60 million. Although these prices are dated back before January.

Virgil van Dijk currently holds the title as the world's most expensive defender when he moved for €85 million from Southampton a year and a half ago. Lucas Hernández went close when he moved to Bayern for €80 million. Meanwhile, Ramos has asked Florentino to let him leave for free and Real Madrid will need to have a replacement ready if he does get his wish.