Reports in the Sunday Express and the Mail on Sunday have linked Everton with Senegal international defender Kalidou Koulibaly. The 25-year-old Napoli center back is also rumoured to have piqued the interest of Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Chelsea.
Indeed, if Everton have really bid €45m for Koulibaly, that would make him one of the most expensive defenders of all time, and surely signals the exit of John Stones from Goodison Park.
Bayern’s interest is valid considering that Mehdi Benatia could be close to a move to Juventus. Arsene Wenger has been reportedly looking for a new partner for Laurent Koscielny in the heart of his defence, while Chelsea’s new manager Antonio Conte will be looking to bolster a porous defence that only took the team to tenth place in the Premier League last season.
Here’s an interesting comparison between Stones and Koulibaly, keeping in mind that the English international was coming off a bad year on a twelfth-placed Everton, while Koulibaly started most games for a Napoli that ended the Serie A season as runners-up.
#EFC have reportedly offered €45 million for defender Kalidou Koulibaly. Here are his stats compared to John Stones. pic.twitter.com/EuIYa0vfjq— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) July 9, 2016
Should Everton just choose to keep Stones instead? The advantages of keeping the young star include the player helping the homegrown quota that all Premier League clubs have to meet, but on the flip side his value in an inflated market could be ridiculously high, especially if Manchester City and Chelsea could be lured into a bidding war for the 22-year-old.