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Benitez urges Everton to maintain interest in top Ancelotti target

Everton remain interested in Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly after ending up with another of his former bosses, according to a report.

Koulibaly has established himself as one of the best centre-backs in the world during his time with Napoli. Thus, he seemed something of an ambitious target for Everton when their interest in him emerged. But the presence of Carlo Ancelotti as their coach could have been an attracting factor, until his exit.

The Senegal international worked with Ancelotti during their time together in Naples. But with the Italian now gone from the Goodison Park hotseat, after quitting to rejoin Real Madrid, talk of a move to Everton for Koulibaly has understandably gone quiet.

But now, 90min have brought it back to life. The website claims that Koulibaly is still on Everton’s shortlist and is very near the top.

Of course, their new boss, Rafael Benitez, has also worked with Koulibaly before. He was Napoli’s coach when they signed the defender from Genk.

Although Benitez was only in charge for one of Koulibaly’s seven years at Napoli, he is hoping he can convince the former Metz man to join him on Merseyside.

The incoming coach has assessed the squad he is taking charge of and has decided he wants more defensive depth. Yerry Mina could leave, which means they will need to replace him with quality.

According to 90min, Benitez wants Everton to continue their pursuit of Koulibaly. The 30-year-old’s experience and quality would provide a major boost to Benitez’s backline.

What’s more, there is a chance that they can get him for a decent price. The report suggests Napoli are only asking for about £35m, despite wanting a nine-figure sum just a few years ago.

Two years still remain on his contract at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, but this could be Napoli’s last chance to really cash in.

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Therefore, Benitez will be hoping that his new employers take his advice and make a move for Koulibaly.

Rafa risks Newcastle wrath

Meanwhile, Benitez is also looking to strengthen further forward – and in the process could upset some fans who once idolised him.

The Everton boss is reportedly interested in one of Newcastle’s biggest attacking threats.

However, they would have to spend big to get their man…

READ MORERafa risks wrath of Newcastle fans in £50m Everton raid for Toon talisman

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