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Transfer news: Koulibaly to Man United; Zaniolo to Liverpool

AS Roma vs SSC Napoli - Serie A

Kalidou Koulibaly and Nicolò Zaniolo during the Italian Serie A football match between AS Roma and SSC Napoli at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, on november 2, 2019. (Photo by Silvia Lore/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

NurPhoto via Getty Images

In the latest transfer news Kalidou Koulibaly has been linked with a move to Man United, while their bitter rivals Liverpool are linked with Nicolo Zaniolo.

Fun fact: Kouliabaly and Zaniolo have both been linked with Man United and Liverpool in recent weeks. Nothing like a little bit of local rivalry, especially when huge transfer fees and talented players are involved.

First up, this is not the first time Man United have been linked with Koulibaly. The 28-year-old center back will reportedly be up for sale in the upcoming transfer window as Napoli aim to recoup some of the funds they will lose by not being in the UEFA Champions League next season.

Per Gazetta dello Sport, Man United are now ‘ready’ to come back in with a bid for Koulibaly after Liverpool showed interested in the towering Senegalese defender. After all, Koulibaly has been at the heart of several impressive defensive displays, and results, as Napoli and Liverpool have sparred on multiple occasions in the Champions League in recent seasons.

The report says that Koulibaly will likely be heading to the Premier League but for closer to $75 million rather than the previous figure of $109 million.

Koulibaly is a dominant center back and both Liverpool and Man United already have one of those each in Virgil van Dijk and Harry Magurie respectively, but it appears the Premier League giants want another giant to further bolster their increasingly sturdy defense.

Liverpool have Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren battling to start alongside VVD, while Man United have Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly challenging to partner Maguire. If Koulibaly arrives at either he would be a guaranteed starter and this could be the best time to do a deal for him as Napoli know it is very unlikely they will receive UCL money next season, plus the current financial situation means players will not be worth as much when it comes to transfer values.

Nicolo Zaniolo of AS Roma celebrates after scoring a goal

STADIO OLIMPICO, ROMA, ITALY - 2019/11/24: Nicolo Zaniolo of AS Roma celebrates after scoring a goal which is later disallowed by VAR during the Serie A football match between AS Roma and Brescia Calcio. AS Roma won 3-0 over Brescia Calcio. (Photo by Andrea Staccioli/LightRocket via Getty Images)

LightRocket via Getty Images

Sticking with a tasty transfer tussle between Man United and Liverpool, that takes us to Roma and Italy midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo.

The talented 20-year-old has been a star after bursting on the scene at Roma over the last two years and Roma, like Napoli, could miss out on UCL qualification next season. A takeover by the Friedkin Group has also stalled amid the pandemic, so Roma’s financial situation isn’t great.

Zaniolo is a tall, skilful and versatile midfield player and before his ACL injury in January he scored six goals and added seven assists in 24 appearances across their midfield.

Liverpool, like Man United, are probably one player short in midfield right now. Naby Keita continues to be an injury concern for Jurgen Klopp, while the trio of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum are all incredibly reliable but are pushing towards the end of their careers.

Zaniolo has attacking flair and is able to create and surge forward from midfield as well as keeping the ball. His main competition for a spot at Liverpool would be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, as Klopp prefers two more defensive midfielders out of his midfield three.

Previously Roma wanted over $85 million for Zaniolo, who has over four years left on his current contract, but it’s safe to say that like most deals for the foreseeable future, the transfer fee will be a lot lower than that.

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