De Laurentiis: ‘Napoli can’t force Koulibaly to stay’

Aurelio De Laurentiis touched on the future of Kalidou Koulibaly, highlighting that Napoli can’t force him to stay with the club.

The 30-year-old Senegalese centre back’s contract expires with the Partenopei at the end of next season and a renewal still hasn’t been signed yet, despite a long set of negotiations. He has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona recently and supporters are starting to fear that they’ll lose another key player.

Speaking at the Race for the Cure event in Naples, De Laurentiis first discussed the future of Koulibaly.

“He is a symbol of Napoli, and if he wants to stop being a symbol, he’s the one who needs to decide that. We want Koulibaly to stay, but it’s not like you can force people to.

“Everyone has their own dignity and their own needs. We respect everyone, do you know that I haven’t ever forced anyone to stay, even with a few years left on their contract?

“The only person I forced, and whom I greet because he’s a dear friend, is Walter Mazzarri, after two years he told me he wanted to leave, I told him he would stay. He did and gave us four years of satisfaction.”

The Napoli president then spoke about Victor Osimhen, who is currently heavily linked with a move to the Premier League.

“We had him at half service for two years, making judgements is always ill-timed. Every league is different, every team changes in the course of preparation: it’s always an unknown. What you have to put on the field is the psychological side.

“I’ve always been of the opinion that you need a male or female psychologist, because a woman is always more pleasant.

“But then you must not get the coaches into trouble, because they might say inappropriate things, creating a barrier of convictions in the player himself that clash with the idea of the coach. We have always abstained, out of respect for the coach.”

Napoli are experiencing a turbulent end to the season following their failed Scudetto challenge, with a number of banners cropping up across the city insulting the players, coach Luciano Spalletti and De Laurentiis. Lorenzo Insigne recently bid farewell to the fans and now other key players might leave, putting supporters in an anxious state ahead of the summer transfer window.

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