Serie A Defender Provides Update On Future Amid Manchester United Interest: What Should Be Ole’s Play?

Update on Manchester United's pursuit of Kalidou Koulibaly who is seen in the photo
Justin Kluivert 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)

In a interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly provided an update on his future amid recent interest from Manchester United. The Senegalese centre-back has revealed that he is 100% committed to the Naples-based club when he said (via Gazzetta dello Sport),

“I never spoke to Napoli about leaving. If we have to find a solution, we will find it, but I have never talked about the transfer market.

“I also read in the newspapers about my future. But I only want to think about playing, I am 100 per-cent [committed to] Napoli and it bothers me to be linked, every day, to this or that European club.

“We will see what the president (Aurelio De Laurentiis) will decide and if he proposes to extend my contract, that would allow me to end my career here.”

Koulibaly’s Season Of Mixed Emotions At Naples So Far

The 29-year-old has endured an injury-ravaged season at the Stadio San Paolo which explains why he has missed so many matches for Napoli over the past ten months. However, he has not let injuries affect his form after producing several commanding displays at the heart of Gennaro Gattuso’s defence. Koulibaly has made 27 appearances for the Italian outfit this term, receiving seven yellow cards and one red card in the process in all competitions.

The Senegalese international has been a dominant presence at the back and has done well to average 2.4 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 3.4 clearances per 90 minutes in the Serie A and the UEFA Champions League this season. He has also been exceptional with his ball-distribution as evidenced by his incredible pass completion rate of 90.5% in league football (stats via whoscored).

Koulibaly provides update on his future amid Man United interest (Napoli's Koulibaly seen in the picture)
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)

The France-born powerhouse is the current captain of the Senegalese national team and has led his international teammates to a runners-up finish in the most recent edition of the African Cup of Nations. He has also earned 33 senior caps for Senegal, finding the back of the net once for his homeland so far.

What Does The Serie A Star Bring To The Table?

Koulibaly has the power and aggression to outmuscle the opposition inside his own half. He is often quick to read the danger which explains how he has managed to pull off over five clearances per game in the Champions League this season. The Senegalese centre-back is also a great tackler and can make some crucial interceptions at the back for his side. He can dominate his own penalty area with authority and conviction and can also be a potent goal-threat from set-pieces in the opposition half.

What Should Be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Play Here?

A centre-back of Koulibaly’s quality would have undeniably made the Red Devils a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League next season. He ticks all the right boxes in terms of what Man United expects from their defenders. Therefore, Koulibaly’s recent update will be quite discouraging for the Mancunian outfit and their hopes of landing the player this summer.

Unless Solskjaer can fund a big-money move for him, it is unlikely that Napoli would be willing to sell their prized asset as he is such an important member of Gattuso’s squad. The Man United head coach would be better of concentrating on pursuing other more realistic options so that he can strengthen his squad for the upcoming campaign.

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.