With Chelsea thought to be close to securing a deal for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, Everton are reportedly prepared to throw a spanner in the works.
Having seen off interest from Arsenal, Antonio Conte’s new side must have thought the way was clear to land the 25-year-old, but the Liverpool Echo are tonight reporting that Everton are preparing to make Napoli an offer in order to swing the deal in their favour.
The report states that the Toffees are willing to pay more than €40m to land the Senegalese international, but that is still some way short of Napoli’s valuation of €50m.
Even if they do come to the Serie A side with an offer that is deemed acceptable, convincing him to reject Chelsea in favour of a move to Goodison Park would be an extremely tall order.
Koulibaly made 42 appearances for the club last season as Mauruzio Sarri’s secured Champions League football. Regardless of which club he chooses, he would be giving up on playing in Europe – though both Conte and Ronald Koeman would try to convince him that they can finish in the top four next season.
Both sides are looking to bolster their defensive options this summer. Chelsea are searching for a long-term replacement to captain John Terry, a partner for Kurt Zouma in the centre.
Everton, meanwhile, may have to sign a replacement for John Stones, with the highly-rated young England international looking increasingly likely to join Manchester City for £50m.
The report goes on to claim that representatives of Everton will meet their Napoli counterparts on Tuesday – the result of that meeting will decide one way or the other how this transfer will proceed.
That being said, it is still far more likely that he will be a Chelsea player within the next few weeks.