Manchester United and Real Madrid are ready to go head-to-head in the battle to land Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer.
That is according to Calciomercato, who have claimed that the European giants are primed to poach the one-time Chelsea and Everton transfer target away from Stadio San Paolo when the window reopens in June.
Koulibaly is contracted to Napoli until the summer of 2021 and certainly won't come cheap to either side, but that won't put the Red Devils or Los Blancos off from testing the waters to see if Koulibaly wishes to end his stay in Naples and head to pastures new.
The 26-year-old has been part of I Partenopei's set up for nearly four years and has been one of their stand out performers under Maurizio Sarri since his £7m transfer from Genk in July 2014.
His performances for Napoli have led to consistent speculation about his future in Serie A and, with United and Real both eyeing new defenders in the close season, will likely fill up the back pages of many newspapers again.
United boss Jose Mourinho has grown weary of the displays of England duo Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, and wishes to partner Eric Bailly with a hardened centre-back to improve his side's defensive resiliency.
(You may also be interested in Out-of-Favour Napoli Midfielder to be Offered Summer Escape By Borussia Dortmund)
Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti and Tottenham's Toby Alderweireld have both been touted as future United acquisitions, but Koulibaly's emergence in recent days may see Mourinho look to him as a potential candidate.
Real, meanwhile, will want a new defender in place as they potentially look to ease Sergio Ramos out of their starting lineup in the coming seasons.
You can see the fatigue starting to set in with Koulibaly, Mertens and Insigne. They are making mistakes that are unusual for their standards they set for themselves.— SSCNAmerica (@SSCNAMERICA) April 3, 2018
With the future of Raphael Varane also up in the air - another United target, no less - club president Florentino Perez will want to cover all bases in case he needs to bolster the club's first team with a star centre-half in the summer.
Koulibaly had interested Chelsea and Everton over the past two summers but neither were willing to stump up the reported £60m valuation that Napoli had placed on the Senegal international.