Friday, September 29, 2023

Manchester City Not Willing To Give Up On This Serie A Defender: Good Decision By Guardiola?

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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.

According to a recent print edition of Corriere dello Sport (transcripted and translated by Sport Witness), Manchester City are not willing to give up on Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly despite having their first offer rejected for the player this summer. The same source has also stated that the Citizens ‘will not give up easily’ on the Senegalese international, but ‘they have been warned’ ahead of the summer transfer window. Koulibaly’s current contract at Naples runs out in the summer of 2023 which means that Gennaro Gattuso will be under no pressure to cash in on him in this off-season.

Koulibaly’s Impressive Form At Naples This Season

The 29-year-old has produced some solid performances at the back for Napoli on his way to having another impressive campaign in the Serie A. He has played in 30 matches for the Italian giants this term, receiving eight yellow cards and one red card in the process which highlight his disciplinary concerns at the San Paolo Stadium. He has also missed several matches for Napoli over the past ten months due to frequent injuries which have hampered his progress in Italian football.

Koulibaly deserves a lot of credit for staying strong and averaging 2.2 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 3.1 clearances per match in the Serie A and the UEFA Champions League this season. He has usually been excellent with his ball-distribution as evidenced by his pass success rate of 91.5% in league football so far (stats via whoscored).

The France-born talent is the current captain of the Senegalese national team, having made 33 senior appearances for his country, scoring one goal in the process. Maybe a summer switch to the Premier League could give him a chance to take his game to the next level for both club and country in the years to come.

Manchester City not willing to give up on Kalidou Koulibaly who is in action in the photo
Nicolò Zaniolo of AS Roma vies with Kalidou Koulibaly of SSC Napoli during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and AS Roma at Stadio San Paolo on July 05, 2020, in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

What Does The Senegalese International Offer On The Pitch?

Koulibaly can use his pace and power to pull off some vital interceptions and last-ditch clearances at the back and is often quick to read the danger inside his half. He can command his penalty area with authority and conviction which makes him such a valuable member of Gattuso’s squad. The Senegalese defender is also a natural leader and can organise his defence quite well. However, his recent injury record will be a cause for concern for any of his potential suitors, including the Citizens this summer.

Man City Not Willing To Give Up On Koulibaly: Good Decision By Guardiola?

Man City’s reluctance to give up on Kouliably seems to be the correct call at the moment as Pep Guardiola needs to add a dominant defender like him to his squad if he intends to bridge the gap to Liverpool at the summit of English football. The Senegalese powerhouse will not only add more quality to the Man City backline but also help them win even more trophies in the coming seasons.

Koulibaly could form a commanding defensive partnership with Aymeric Laporte at the Etihad Stadium next season. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense for the Citizens to test Napoli’s resolve by launching another bid for the talented centre-back this summer.

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