According to a recent report by Le10Sport, Liverpool have already launched a move to land Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli this summer. However, the same source has also revealed that the Reds are not the only ones to have made an offer for the Senegalese centre-back as Manchester United have also tabled a bid to acquire his services during the summer transfer window. It is believed that the Merseyside giants are willing to offer Koulibaly a decent salary package and the lure of UEFA Champions League football have put them in pole position to sign the player in this off-season (via Le10Sport).
Koulibaly’s Decent Run Of Form At Naples Despite Recent Injury Struggles
The 28-year-old has experienced another brilliant season in the Serie A despite struggling to stay injury-free during this campaign. He has performed at a high level at the San Paolo Stadium and established himself as a fan-favourite due to his incredible consistency at the centre of Gennaro Gattuso’s backline. Koulibaly has made 21 appearances for the Naples based outfit this term, earning a total of 1757 minutes of playing time in the process across all competitions.
The Senegal international has put in a series of commanding performances at the heart of the Napoli defence after averaging 2.5 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 3.5 clearances in every 90 minutes of football in the Italian top-flight and the UEFA Champions League this season (stats via whoscored). His record proves just how influential he has been for his current club on the defensive end of the pitch.
The France-born defender is the current captain of the Senegalese national side, securing 33 senior caps for his homeland while finding the back of the net once for them thus far. He led his international teammates to a brilliant second-place finish in the 2019 African Cup of Nations. He will be expected to play another crucial role for Senegal when the prestigious tournament kicks off once again in 2021.
What Will The Senegalese International Bring To Merseyside?
Koulibaly can put his remarkable upper body strength to good use when defending crosses in and around his own penalty box. He is a dominant presence in the air and can often overpower the opposition strikers to win most of the 50-50 aerial duels at the back. The Senegalese powerhouse’s aerial prowess makes him a potent goal-threat from dead-ball situations in the opposition half. However, his recent injury record will be a significant cause for concern for any of his potential suitors, including Liverpool.
Even with all the risks involved, there is no doubt that he is one of the best defenders in European football at the moment and ticks all the right boxes in terms of what Jurgen Klopp expects from his centre-backs. Koulibaly could potentially form one of the most feared defensive partnerships in Europe alongside Virgil Van Dijk if he decides to join the Reds this summer.
Recruiting Koulibaly This Summer: Dream Signing For Klopp?
He is an outstanding centre-half who has built a reputation for earning the ball back by making well-timed tackles in defence. The former Metz talent can also use his football intelligence, speed and power to make a few essential last-gasp clearances for his team. Therefore, he could prove to be a dream signing for the Merseyside giants in the short-term as he will significantly improve the quality of the Liverpool first-team.
However, Koulibaly’s arrival could hamper the development of Joe Gomez, who is destined to become a top defender someday. The English prospect has already shown a few glimpses of his brilliance over the past 18 months, so it would be unfair if Klopp decides to halt his progress by bringing in a centre-back of Koulibaly’s calibre before the start of the new season. At the same time, the Senegalese will help Liverpool challenge for even more silverware in the coming seasons if they manage to lure him to Anfield this summer. So it makes sense for Klopp to splash big-money to win the race for his signature.
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