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Manchester City have asked supporters to submit questions to “new signing” Kalidou Koulibaly in an article on their official website revealing the squad number of recent acquisition Ruben Dias.

In what could be an indication of how close City were to signing the Senegal international, a hyperlink titled ‘CITYZENS: NEW SIGNING – Ask Kalidou Koulibaly a question’ was posted at the bottom of a news piece that revealed Dias would be wearing No.3 at the Etihad Stadium this season.

Dias’ signing was announced by City on Tuesday evening, with the defender penning a six-year contract after making a £62 million ($79m) move from Portuguese powerhouse Benfica, with veteran Nicolas Otamendi heading in the opposite direction.

City have been linked with multiple central defenders throughout the transfer window, with Koulibaly and Atletico’s Jose Gimenez also mooted before the club swooped in to nab Portuguese international Dias.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis claimed Man City were interested in signing Koulibaly but were making discussions difficult because the Serie A club had sold Jorginho to Chelsea instead of them in 2018.

Despite City signing Dias, Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso is still nervous of losing Koulibaly before the transfer window shuts next month, with PSG reportedly interested following Thiago Silva’s departure, while the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool have been linked previously.

“I hope he remains with us, selfishly speaking, because he gives us so much both in technical terms and as a character,” Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia after Napoli’s 6-0 demolition of Genoa on Sunday.

“The world has changed because of the pandemic and I realise all clubs need to balance the books. I hope the call won’t arrive, but I’ll be nervous about it until transfer deadline day.”

Manchester City’s run to last season’s Champions League quarter-finals saw the team have their opening Premier League match postponed in order to get an extended rest for their squad.

Pep Guardiola’s team started their league campaign with an impressive 3-1 win on the road at Wolves, before overcoming Bournemouth 2-1 at the Etihad in the Carabao Cup.

However, City were thrashed 5-2 at home by Leicester City in the league on the weekend, with centre-half pairing Nathan Ake and Eric Garcia struggling to deal with last season’s Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy, who scored a hat-trick.

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September 30, 2020
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