By Wayne Veysey

11th Jul, 2016 | 7:15am

Meeting scheduled: Everton to hold talks this week as they step up bid for £40m star - report

By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Everton will hold talks with Napoli this week as they step up their bid to sign defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to a report.

Sky Italy journalist Gianluca Di Marzio has claimed on his website that the Merseysiders will hold a midweek meeting with the Serie A club to negotiate a deal for the Senegal centre-back.

This comes after Italian news outlet Gazzetta World reported on Saturday that Everton have tabled an offer worth £38.5million for Koulibaly.

Manager Ronald Koeman is in the market for a new centre-back as Manchester City prepare a record-breaking bid for John Stones.

Koulibaly has been at Napoli for two years since joining from Metz for £6.5million, and has now played 60 times in Serie A.

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The 25-year-old played 33 times in the Italian top flight in the 2015-16 season as Napoli finished nine points behind Juventus in second.

Koeman has been active in his search for players since arriving at Goodison Park this summer, but has been unsuccessful in the hunt for Graziano Pelle and most recently Axel Witsel.

As reported by Football Insider, Everton have held extensive talks to sign Witsel in a £30million deal from Zenit St Petersburg but talks have collapsed and he is closing in on a move to Napoli.

Everton are said to be backing Koeman with a £100million transfer kitty and the Everton boss is said to believe it is necessary to make significant changes to a squad that underachieved last season.

However, the most important deal could be retaining striker Romelu Lukaku who is wanted by European heavyweights Chelsea and Bayern Munich.

In other Everton news, their fans have reacted to a former Goodison Park striker joining a non-league outfit.