Defence is a problem that has plagued Napoli for years now, with the club boasting some superb attacking talent down the years but noticeably lacking at the back.
Even before Rafael Benitez signed on last summer to coach the Partenopei, predecessor Walter Mazzarri’s team had already developed a porous reputation.
The decisions to let Hugo Campagnaro and Federico Fernandez go in consecutive summers have thus been met with questions, seemingly weakening the unit further.
Napoli did sign a replacement in May for the Swansea-bound player in the form of Kalidou Koulibaly, who joined from Racing Genk.
But a difficult start to the campaign for Napoli and Koulibaly’s lack of international recognition brought about even more criticism of the club’s transfer policy.
Yet the Frenchman has flourished since encountering some initial difficulties at the San Paolo. He’s played every minute available so far, and has by far been Napoli’s best centre-back to date.
Seemingly, this has drawn the attention of another club that has struggled for defensive solidity in recent times – Manchester United.
According to the Daily Star, Louis van Gaal has been eyeing up a January move for Koulibaly amid a rash of injuries, even if he only just joined Napoli for £8million six months ago.
Koulibaly’s agent has now admitted that Europe’s elite regularly watch the 23-year-old, but says his client has no interest in a quick exit from the San Paolo.
Mogy Bayat told Radio CRC: “Foreign scouts are following him every week. Before he joined Napoli, he was followed by many important clubs, but Napoli were the first to make an approach. Kalidou has enormous potential and that's why he can develop further.
“Koulibaly is happy to stay in Naples, and even if an important offer came in, he would say no. He has never asked them for a transfer. Between January and June, he will only leave Napoli if the club request.”
Judging on Koulibaly’s form and Napoli’s need for him, there looks to be nothing more than a remote chance that the club would have any interest in selling him on.
United’s chance of landing Koulibaly for the time being seems to have ended the moment he put pen to paper on a contract with the Partenopei in May.
Van Gaal and company would do well to look elsewhere for January reinforcements at the back, as Bayat’s words suggest the Koulibaly ship has sailed – the San Paolo his home for the foreseeable future.