Monday, February 6, 2023

Manchester United Make Record Bid For Serie A Defensive Ace: Worth The Gamble For The Red Devils

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Anas Molla
An ageing teenager who apparently still likes Twenty One Pilots and HIMYM. Also fascinated by Greek and Egyptian mythology and history. Still waiting for my man Milos Raonic to win a Grand Slam.

According to Corriere Dello Sport, as cited by The Sun, Manchester United have launched a world record bid of £84 million in the pursuit of Kalidou Koulibaly. The Napoli defender has emerged as the number one defensive target for the Red Devils after being ruled out of the chase to sign Matthijs de Ligt.

The report claims that Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis apparently wants £89 million for Koulibaly this summer. And this could force United to make a decision, especially with the defender’s staggering £133 million release clause set to become active next summer.

Koulibaly’s revelation at Napoli

Koulibaly joined Napoli back in 2014 in a £6 million move from KRC Genk. And the Senegalese international has since become a vital part of the Napoli backline, having made 212 appearances for the Partenopei across all competitions.

Koulibaly’s service in the backline has been critical to Napoli’s success down the years, and this last season has been no exception. The 27-year-old made 35 appearances in the league, helping Carlo Ancelotti’s men finish second in the league table, 11 points behind champions Juventus.

What can Koulibaly bring to the table?

Koulibaly initially joined Napoli as a robust defender, who was known for his physical prowess. But, five years later, the 27-year-old is now one of the most complete and well-rounded defenders in world football.

Indeed, Koulibaly is advertised as a pass master. He is proficient when it comes to building up from the back while he can also pass in between the lines with his laser passes. The Napoli star notably attained an impressive pass completion rate of 87% during the 2018/19 campaign.

Defensively, Koulibaly is known for his physical and aerial prowess. His 1.87m frame makes him a threat in the air, with the defender winning 2.2 headed duels per game. It also allows him to become an indirect threat from set-pieces, with the Senegalese international netting seven league goals in the past couple of seasons. Also, he is quite useful when it comes to reading the game, having averaged 1.1 interceptions per game.

Should Manchester United make a move for Koulibaly?

Koulibaly is undoubtedly worth the gamble for Manchester United given his all-round quality. A talented individual hardened by years of experience at the highest level of football, the Napoli defender will undoubtedly enhance the Manchester United backline.

He can be an ideal defensive partner to Victor Lindelof as his defensive prowess will allow the Swede to become more effective in the build-up play. But most importantly, it will be his aggression and experience that could make him a real leader at the back for the Red Devils.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

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