Manchester City are still hoping to sign Kalidou Koulibaly in a £75m deal – without having any direct contact with his club Napoli.
Pep Guardiola has made the Senegal international one of his main transfer targets this summer and remains determined to lure him to the Etihad.
But there is bad blood between the two clubs that is making the deal take longer to complete.
The ill-feeling goes back to 2018 when City were on the verge of landing Napoli midfielder Jorginho, only for the Serie A side to perform a U-turn and sell him to Chelsea instead.
Etihad bosses were left seething and have still not forgiven their rivals.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis admitted last week that the problems between the two clubs would make it difficult for Koulibaly to join City.
But Guardiola has told City chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak to put the differences to one side and do whatever it takes to land the 29-year-old centre back.
It is understood City chiefs have instructed Koulibaly's agent Fali Ramadami to act as a go-between in a bid to negotiate a deal that would make him one of the most expensive defenders in world football.
Ramadami has travelled to Manchester to discuss what City are prepared to pay for Koulibaly.
He will then travel back to Naples this week to meet De Laurentiis in the hope he will accept what City are willing to spend on the former Genk star.
Despite signing Holland international Nathan Ake from Bournemouth in a £40m deal, Guardiola wants to add more quality to his defence ahead of the new season.
City are willing to listen to offers for John Stones, while Spanish international Eric Garcia remains determined to join Barcelona.
Guardiola regards Koulibaly as the player to fill the hole left by Vincent Kompany when he left City in the summer of 2019 and is still confident of landing his man.
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