NAPOLI are interested in Samuel Umtiti as a replacement for Manchester United target Kalidou Koulibaly, according to reports.
The Serie A side are resigned to losing the Senegalese defender this summer after managing to keep hold of him for six years.
According to Sport in Spain, because they are not confident they will be able to keep hold of him into next season, they are eyeing Umtiti instead.
And the reports adds that Napoli’s board have already contacted Barcelona to enquire about the Frenchman’s availability.
The Catalan giants are thought to be willing to sell the World Cup winner in order to help raise funds for other signings to come in.
Although they are unlikely to get the £44million they were hoping for and may have to settle for around £26m instead.
But Umtiti is enjoying living in Barcelona and does not want to leave – instead he is pushing for a new contract after getting a run of games under new manager Quique Setien.
Manchester United have been linked with Koulibaly for the last few years but were put off by Napoli’s mammoth asking price, at times thought to be in excess of £100m.
They opted to pay a world-record fee for a defender by signing Harry Maguire from Leicester instead in an £85m deal.
But the Old Trafford side continue to be linked with both Koulibaly and Umtiti.
And going for the latter would certainly save the transfer merry-go-round this summer.
Another defender United have been linked with is Dayot Upamecano.
Arsenal are also interested in the two Frenchman.
Upamecano, 21, has a £55m release clause and is out of contract in 2021 so would be a cheaper and younger option than Koulibaly.
The RB Leipzig defender is thought to be keen on a switch to England as he prepares to advance his career in the Premier League.
But the defender – who visited United’s Carrington training ground as a teenager – may be forced to stay in Germany if the coronavirus crisis has a major impact on the transfer market.
Leipzig sporting director Markus Krosche said: “This is a far-reaching decision for a player. He should take his time with that.
“He has to be clear about exactly what he is going to do, how he sees his future. Maybe that has changed a bit as a result of the new situation [coronavirus].”