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Liverpool and Man Utd 'to be pipped by Newcastle' for Kalidou Koulibaly transfer


Kalidou Koulibaly would form a “stratospheric” partnership with Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool – but Newcastle have moved ahead of both the Reds and Manchester United in the race to sign the Napoli defender.

That’s the verdict of journalist Paolo Esposito, who says Newcastle have offered a better financial package to the centre-back than either Liverpool or the Red Devils.

Esposito also says the Magpies have made a bigger offer to Napoli for the 28-year-old – although their bid will depend on whether the big-money takeover at St James’ Park goes ahead.

Senegal international Koulibaly has long been on the radar of United and has also been linked with Liverpool recently.

But the £62million-rated defender is also wanted by Newcastle’s prospective new Saudi owners as a marquee signing, according to Esposito.

Kalidou Koulibaly is on the way to the Premier League this summer, according to journalist Paolo Esposito

Juventus have also been linked with a move for Koulibaly – but journalist Esposito says the Serie A giants can’t afford him.

“Juventus do not have the economic strength to buy the Neapolitan Kalidou Koulibaly,” Esposito told Arena Napoli.

“I believe he will go to the Premier League, where there is Newcastle in pole position.

“Then there are Manchester United and Liverpool, who have much more charm than Newcastle but offer less, both for the card and for the engagement.

“Of course, if Koulibaly went to Liverpool, he would form a stratospheric couple with Virgil van Dijk. The best defensive couple in the world!”

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ESPN pundit Craig Burley recently predicted that Man Utd would beat Liverpool and Newcastle to Koulibaly’s signature.

“Look, is Koulibaly a great get for most clubs,” Burley said. “Absolutely, fantastic centre-half.

“But you’ve got to weigh up the pros and the cons.

Koulibaly could form ‘the best defensive pairing in the world’ with Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk

“He’s going to be 29 this summer, in a month or so, there’s the financial situation in terms of getting the player in and their wages, and Man United’s need is more.

“They’ve got a good centre-half in Maguire and then they’ve got a couple of other centre-halves that I’m sure they would like to get rid of, and if they could bring a player in they would.

“Liverpool have Matip, they have Lovren and they have Joe Gomez, who is an excellent young player.

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“None of them to the standard of Koulibaly but they’ve already got arguably the world’s greatest defender in Virgil van Dijk.”

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