Kalidou Koulibaly has played down a potential move to Premier League champions Liverpool, telling Napoli Magazine he’s living the dream in Serie A.
Life in southern Italy leaves an indelible imprint on your soul.
And Koulibaly, an adopted Neapolitan, looks increasingly likely to follow in the footsteps of Dries Mertens, Marek Hamsik and Jose Callejon by spending his prime years wearing that powder blue shirt with pride.
And it’s not as though the Senegal international is short of alternative offers.
It’s no secret Manchester City were keen before landing Ruben Dias instead while, according to Calciomercato, Koulibaly is one of many centre-halves under consideration by a Liverpool side that will be without Virgil van Dijk until the middle of 2021.
But, at 29 and with three years left on his contract, Koulibaly is going nowhere.
“I have always wanted to be part of this team, of this city. They have given me so much since I arrived (from Genk in 2014) and I want to repay the trust I received from the first day I arrived,” says the 2020 Coppa Italia winner.
“The trust the fans gave me was important. They gave me further confirmation that the choice I made to stay here (was the right one).
“I’m very happy today. My family is fine in Naples and I’m happy to be here.
“I represent all the Neapolitan people and I want them to be proud of me. I will always give 300 per cent for the fans to repay them for the affection they give me.”
Considering that Napoli owner Aurelio de Laurentiis wanted a world-record £90 million fee for a man who will turn 30 next year, it never felt likely even a club of Liverpool’s resources had a chance of getting him – especially in this most strained of transfer markets.
Ozan Kabak, Mykola Matviyenko, Pau Torres and even Dayot Upamecano could come much cheaper than Koulibaly.
Liverpool’s trophies under Jurgen Klopp
UEFA Super Cup
FIFA Club World Cup