By Nick Ware

16th Jul, 2021 | 7:10am

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly wants to join Rafa Benitez at Everton

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly is interested in reuniting with former boss Rafa Benitez at Everton, according to the Telegraph.

The French-born Senegal international was signed by Benitez during the Spaniard’s two-year spell in Naples, and he quickly established himself as a key player.

The 30-year-old is now said to be “interested” in working with him again after their “strong” relationship in Italy.

However, the Telegraph report states that the six-foot-one-inch powerhouse would command a “substantial” fee, and Everton would need to clear space on the wage bill in order to free up funds and comply with the Premier League’s financial rules.

Koulibaly has long been linked with a move to Merseyside, and Italian news outlet Calciomercato even reported on Wednesday [14/07/21] that Everton had tabled an opening offer for the central defender.

Short-term fix?

Koulibaly has been considered among the best central defenders in Europe over the last five years, and it would be a huge coup were the Blues to land him this summer.

He’s a robust, physical specimen that is a nuisance to try and get past, while he also offers an element of grace in possession with his passing and forays forwards.

However, he’s now in his thirties, would cost a significant sum to sign, and has consistently been overlooked by the elite sides despite his stellar reputation.

Would a big splurge represent a big risk?

It really all depends on how much the club plans on spending elsewhere. The forward line needs reinforcing, with a winger and striker among the priorities, while a right-back is also on the agenda.

Central defence is an area where the Blues are not short on options, though the Telegraph’s same report claims Yerry Mina can leave for the right price, while Michael Keane and Mason Holgate failed to convince last term.

Ben Godfrey and Koulibaly would represent a fearsome back two if the Senegalese can be bought, but there are a lot of financial considerations to make before that becomes a reality.

In other Everton news, the Blues are plotting six senior star sales, this big-name centre-mid is among the casualties.

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