Barcelona are reportedly keeping an eye on Napoli centre-half Kalidou Koulibaly ahead of the January transfer window. The defender has played an important role in the Serie A outfit’s recent success, and Barca’s boss Ernesto Valverde is said to be interested in reshaping his defence during the winter.

The La Liga giants’ start to the league this season has been strong. With 22 points from eight games, the only occasion where they have dropped points this season was in their 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid last weekend.

However, the Camp Nou outfit are still eager to improve; and according to Mundo Deportivo, the Catalan giants are keeping an eye on former Chelsea target Koulibaly.

The Catalan club are believed to have sent scouts to watch the Senegal international during the Napoli’s 1-0 victory over Roma – the centre-back impressing as his side kept a clean sheet against tough opposition.

However, the biggest issue for Barca is the financial aspect of any deal. Koulibaly won’t come cheap. Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo claim that Napoli spent the summer rejecting offers from suitors for him under the instruction of manager Maurizio Sarri – mostly from the Premier League teams, although Juventus also expressed their interest.

In an interview with Italian daily Il Messaggero via Football Italia Sarri said:

“He rediscovered me, he gave me confidence. He really is a genius, he sees things others don’t see. He makes you understand how football is and isn’t unpredictable. He’s a scholar.

“Any question you ask him, he always has an answer—and it’s always right. He helps you to think as a team and not as an individual.

“When he arrived he told me: ‘Do as I say and you’ll become an important player.’ I’m trying, but I know I can still improve.”

The Napoli boss is said to refusing to sell any of his players until next summer, and if Barca want to take Koulibaly away in a crucial part of the season, the La Liga side will have to break the bank for his service.

That is, of course, if the Senegalese defender wishes to leave Stadio San Paolo. The defender is a huge fan of Sarri, and has the opportunity to be a key part of a side that finally dethrones Juventus as champions of Italy.