Thursday, January 27, 2022

Napoli Boss Gives Transfer Status Of Defender Amidst Manchester United Interest: What Now For Solskjær?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti has revealed his stance on Kalidou Koulibaly’s future at the Naples club by ruling out the possibility of his departure in the summer. In a recent interview (via Manchester Evening News), the Italian head coach said, “I have a team that is already well structured and with margins for growth, even if young.

“In pivotal roles we are in place, the backbone is robust: two valuable goalkeepers, a reliable defence with a phenomenon like Koulibaly, the well-structured midfield with Allan, Zielinski and Fabian.

“Destined to grow, with targeted investments made in harmony with the club. The big names will all remain. Napoli is not forced to sell and make capital gains. Also, Koulibaly? Absolutely, from here it does not move.”

Ancelotti’s recent words will be quite discouraging for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s chances of landing the defender next summer. Man United have enjoyed a long-run of favourable results under Solskjaer, but their defence remains a huge concern as evidenced by their performances against Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this month.

Hence, Koulibaly would have significantly improved their backline, and his unavailability could put Ed Woodward and co. in a difficult position at Old Trafford. The Senegalese international has established himself as one of the best defenders in Europe over the past couple of years. The 27-year-old has featured in 37 matches for Napoli this term, making an average of 1.8 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 3.8 clearances per game across all competitions.

The former KRC Genk defensive ace has also secured 32 international caps for the Senegalese national side thus far. At 27, he is currently playing at his prime and will play a decisive part for both his club and country in the coming years.

Koulibaly is a powerhouse in defence and knows how to make timely interceptions for his side. He is also aerially dominant and can be a threat from set-pieces going forward. He would have been a great addition to Solskjaer’s squad going into the new campaign. However, Napoli’s refusal to do business will be a bitter pill to swallow for the Red Devils.

Man United are now better of concentrating on other options who could be available in the summer. Even though, one could also argue that they should smash the transfer record and try to convince Napoli with a massive offer for the Senegalese international in the off-season. Either way, it could be an enormous blow for the Mancunian outfit and their plans under Solskjaer if they fail to land a quality defender next summer.

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