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Barcelona Identify This Napoli Defender As A Summer Target: What Will He Add To Xavi’s Side?

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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 print edition, Mundo Deportivo stated that Barcelona have identified Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly as a summer target. It has been stated that the Catalan giants are eyeing a move to recruit the Senegalese powerhouse who has just got a year left to run in his Napoli contract.

Koulibaly’s Solid Campaign At The Diego Armando Maradona Stadium

Koulibaly had another solid season at Naples as he continued to perform at the top of his game at the centre of Luciano Spalletti’s defence. The 31-year-old scored three times and picked up three assists in 34 matches for the Italian club in the previous campaign across all competitions.

The Senegalese captain gave a good account of himself at the back after he averaged 1.4 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 3.1 clearances per game in Serie A. He was even tidy with his ball distribution based on his pass completion rate of 86.9% in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).

Chelsea (Kalidou Koulibaly)
Napoli’s Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly celebrates after scoring 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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What Will Koulibaly Add To Barcelona Boss Xavi’s Side?

Koulibaly can be a dominant figure on the defensive end of the field as he can use his powerful 1.87m frame to overpower the opposition in the air. He can get stuck in with some crunching tackles to earn the ball back for his team inside his half.

The 62-time Brazil international doesn’t mind putting his foot through the ball when in danger of being caught out inside his penalty area. He is even proficient at passing the ball accurately from the back.

At 31, Koulibaly has got a wealth of experience under his belt and might still have a few good years left in him to play at a high level. Therefore, he could be a good, short-term signing for Barcelona to pull off this summer.

Koulibaly will add more bite and steel to Xavi‘s defence and could go on to serve as an ideal replacement for Gerard Pique who is entering the twilight years of his Barca career. The France-born talent could even help the Catalan giants get back to challenge Real Madrid for the La Liga title once again in the coming seasons.

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