Omar Berrada admits the Napoli defender is a player those at the Etihad Stadium are aware of, but says no discussions were held in the summer window
Kalidou Koulibaly was never a centre-half option that Manchester City considered during the summer transfer window, says the club’s chief football operations offer Omar Berrada, with links to the Napoli defender formed by others.
Pep Guardiola was known to be in the market for reinforcements at the back after seeing the Blues cleared to spend again.
Various options were mooted for the Premier League heavyweights, including Senegalese star Koulibaly.
For many, the commanding 29-year-old ticked plenty of boxes for City as they sought a suitable successor to Vincent Kompany in a leadership role at the Etihad Stadium.
Funds were, however, to be invested elsewhere, with Berrada claiming that no discussions were held regarding an approach for Koulibaly.
He told The Athletic: “The truth is, we never were in negotiations with his club at all about him.
“It was very interesting to see the amount of noise that was coming out from certain media outlets and social media.
“I smiled because there were certain instances where people were reporting that the deal was agreed, done, about to happen, he was going to be announced in a few days, when we were never in touch at all with Napoli about him.
“He’s definitely a top, top player, so some consideration was given to him, but really within some parameters that were very clear to us — and those parameters never came into play, so he was never really considered in that sense.”
Rather than snap up Koulibaly, City put deals in place for Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias.
The latter cost them a club-record £62 million ($81m), with Berrada confident that value will be found in a 23-year-old addition for the present and future.
He added: “In the case of Ruben Dias, he has been on our list for a long time.
“We always felt his valuation in previous seasons — and his buyout clause, which I think was €88 million — was too high.
“This year, we were able to negotiate a deal with Benfica for a significantly lower amount and it also happened that they were interested in Nicolas Otamendi (who has moved in the other direction to join the Lisbon club).”
Berrada went on to say: “I don’t think we overpaid for Dias at all.
“We looked at multiple candidates, top centre-backs in Europe, and this was by far the best valuation, once you consider age, experience, current talent and future potential.
“He was by far our No.1 target in that sense. Some of the valuations we were given for other players were a lot higher.”