Monday, June 27, 2022

Barcelona Identify This Serie A Powerhouse As A Summer Target: Should Xavi Snap Him Up?

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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.

In a recent report, Sport claimed that Barcelona have identified Napoli powerhouse Kalidou Koulibaly as a summer target. It is believed that the Catalan giants are eyeing a bargain move to recruit the Senegalese defender in this off-season.

Koulibaly’s Decent Form In Italian Football This Season

Koulibaly has enjoyed another solid campaign at Naples as he has continued to excel as a dominant presence at the heart of Luciano Spalletti’s defence. The 30-year-old has scored three times and secured three assists in 34 matches for the Italian club this season across various competitions

The Senegal international has been a rock at the back based on his average of 1.4 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 3.1 clearances per 90 minutes in Serie A. He has even been accurate when distributing the ball from the back after completing 86.9% of his attempted passes in the Italian top-flight (stats via whoscored).

Barcelona (Kalidou Koulibaly)
Napolis Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly celebrates his goal during the Italian Serie A football match Napoli vs Sassuolo at Diego Armando Maradona stadium in Naples, on April 30, 2022. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP) (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)
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Should Barcelona Boss Xavi Snap Koulibaly Up This Summer?

Koulibaly can use his powerful 1.87m frame to dominate the opposition attackers in the air. He is usually quick to spot the danger and doesn’t mind putting his foot through the ball when needed.

The Senegalese defensive ace can time his tackles well to secure the ball back for his side on the defensive end of the field. He is also proficient at playing his way out from the back.

Thus, it makes sense for the Catalan giants to make an attempt to bring Koulibaly to the Nou Camp when the transfer window reopens later this year. He will undoubtedly strengthen their defence and could help them close the gap to Real Madrid at the top of Spanish football in the coming seasons.

At 30, Koulibaly has still got a few good years left in him to play at a high level. Hence, he will be a decent option for Barca to consider this summer. With things considered, Xavi should think about snapping the Serie A star up ahead of the new campaign. Furthermore, Koulibaly would serve as a perfect, long-term replacement for Gerard Pique, who is in the twilight years of his playing career at the Catalan club.

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