According to a recent report by Tuttomercatoweb (translated by Sport Witness), Liverpool are in hot pursuit of Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly ahead of the summer transfer window. The same source has also revealed that the Reds are ‘pressing’ to recruit the Senegalese international after identifying him an ideal centre-half partner for Virgil Van Dijk. It is believed that Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren could also be involved as a makeweight in a deal that would see Koulibaly move to Merseyside in this off-season (via Tuttomercatoweb).
Koulibaly’s Season Of Mixed Emotions In Italian Football
The 29-year-old has endured an injury-troubled season at Naples but has still managed to find some consistency with his performances during this campaign. He has featured in 24 matches for the Italian giants this term, picking up six yellow cards and one red card in the process across all fronts.
Even though there are some concerns over his poor disciplinary record, yet Koulibaly deserves credit for averaging 2.5 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 3.5 clearances per 90 minutes in the Serie A and the UEFA Champions League this season. He has hardly given away the ball after completing 89.6% of his attempted passes in league football (stats via whoscored).
The France-born defender is the current skipper of the Senegalese national side, having made 33 senior appearances for his country while scoring one goal in the process. He managed to lead his teammates to a second-place finish in the last edition of the African Cup of Nations. Therefore, Koulibaly can expect to play a pivotal role for his nation when the prestigious competition takes place once again next year.
What Will The Senegalese International Bring To Anfield?
Koulibaly is proficient at using his solid frame to outmuscle the opposition in the air and can read the danger quickly that allows him to pull off some crucial interceptions and last-ditch clearances for his team. The Senegalese centre-half can be a dominating presence at the back as he can command his penalty area with authority and conviction. He also poses a significant threat from set-pieces in the attacking third of the field.
A defender of Koulibaly’s calibre could make Liverpool invincible in the upcoming campaign as he would potentially form a devasting defensive partnership with Van Dijk at the heart of Jurgen Klopp’s backline. The Reds have already been brilliant defensively over the past ten months. However, the Napoli star will be a significant upgrade over Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren. Hence, he could prove to be a massive coup for the Merseyside giants if Klopp can find a way to land him this summer.
Koulibaly will not only enhance the quality of the Liverpool first-team but also help them win even more silverware in the years to come. At 29, he is playing at his peak at the moment, but it remains to be seen whether Liverpool’s American owners, Fenway Sports Group make enough funds available for Klopp to sign him this summer.