According to a recent report by Le10Sport, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp have reached out to Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly via phone call to discuss a potential move during the summer transfer window. The same source has also revealed that the objective of the chat was to offer the Senegalese centre-back some details of what Klopp’s plans were heading into the new season. It is believed that Koulibaly’s ‘clear preference’ is to seal a switch to England and the prospect of playing UEFA Champions League football ‘seduced him a lot’ (via Le10Sport).
Koulibaly’s Excellent Form Despite Recent Injury Struggles At Naples
The 28-year-old has endured an injury-ravaged campaign at the San Paolo Stadium which has hampered his progress in the Serie A. The Napoli talent deserves credit for producing some solid displays at the heart of Gennaro Gattuso’s backline despite his recent struggles with injuries. Koulibaly has participated in 21 matches for the Naples-based club this term, securing a total of 1757 minutes of game time while picking up five yellow cards across multiple competitions.
The Senegalese defensive ace has managed to find a run of consistency with his all-around performances at the back after averaging 2.5 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 3.5 clearances per game in the Italian first division and the UEFA Champions League this season (stats via whoscored). His outstanding defensive contributions explain why he has become such a favourite among the Napoli supporters and goes to show just how effective he can be in the defensive third of the field.
The France-born powerhouse is the current skipper of the Senegalese national side, having featured in 33 matches for his country thus far. He also has one senior goal to his name. Koulibaly led his international colleagues to an impressive second-place finish in the 2019 African Cup of Nations, so he will be expected to assume another influential role for Senegal when the prestigious competition gets underway next year.
What Will The Senegalese International Add To Jurgen Klopp’s Team?
Koulibaly is adept at using his powerful frame to outmuscle the opposition in the air when defending crosses inside his own penalty box. He is a commanding figure at the back and doesn’t mind putting his body on the line to clear the danger when his teammates are left exposed on the counter. The Senegalese international’s physical stature makes him a lethal target from set-pieces in the opposition half. He is also an excellent tackler that allows him to pull off some crucial interceptions for his side. However, there are some concerns over his long-term healthy following an injury-plagued season in Italy so far.
On his day, Koulibaly can be one of the best centre-backs in European football so Liverpool will do well to lure him to Anfield this summer. He ticks all the right boxes in terms of what Jurgen Klopp demands from his defenders. Plus, the presence of Sadio Mane, who is Koulibaly’s international teammate, would hopefully help the defender settle into life at Merseyside. The Napoli star could potentially form an unstoppable defensive partnership with Virgil Van Dijk at the centre of Klopp’s defence if he ends up joining the Reds before the start of the new campaign.
Why The Reds Need To Get Koulibaly On Board This Summer
Koulibaly will add a lot of quality and defensive stability to the Liverpool backline, which might help the Merseyside club challenge for even more trophies in the years to come. He will undeniably be an upgrade over Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren. At the same time, the Senegalese’s recruitment could hamper the progress of Joe Gomez, who looks set to become a world-class defender someday.
The English centre-half has showcased some glimpses of what he is capable of over the past couple of seasons. Hence, it would be unfair to him if Liverpool decide to halt his development by acquiring the services of someone of Koulibaly’s calibre in this off-season. Even then, Klopp should seriously consider getting the Serie A defender on board as he could potentially help the Merseyside giants maintain their supremacy at the summit of English football.