Barcelona-linked defender will not extend his contract, has two routes for his future

Barcelona have not made much progress in their pursuit of a centre-back. While Andreas Christensen has agreed to join the club on a free transfer,

Xavi is looking for an additional defender amid worries over the longevity of Gerard Pique.

The Barcelona coach has informed the veteran of his diminishing role in the first team while injuries have not helped either.

It has compelled Barcelona to look for an additional centre-back, who can emerge as a long-term replacement for Pique.

Jules Kounde has emerged as the desired target for Xavi, but Sevilla’s €65-70 million price tag has made the operation quite tricky.

As such, Barça have identified an ideal alternative in the form of Kalidou Koulibaly.

A recent report from Il Matino, relayed by Napoli Magazine, has offered an update on the future of Koulibaly, whose current contract at Napoli expires at the end of next season.

There is no secret that Koulibaly wants to leave Napoli this summer and start a new chapter in his career.

He held a meeting with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, earlier this month, to inform the Italian of the same.

However, the report from Il Matino suggests Napoli are in no mood of selling Koulibaly in the summer, as head coach Luciano Spalletti considers him vital to the club’s progress in the coming season.

The defender himself has refused to renew his contract with the Partenopei, meaning the Italians will be forced to either offload him in the summer transfer window or let him leave the club for free in 2023.

Barcelona are on hand to take advantage of a market opportunity, although Napoli are sure to make the operation difficult by holding out for a hefty price tag.

It won’t be surprising to see the Catalans include a few players in the operation, in an attempt to sweeten the deal.