Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly Would Be A Perfect Replacement For Per Mertesacker And Arsenal Should Sign Him
Defensive reinforcements have been necessary at Arsenal for quite some time now. Arsene Wenger did sign Sead Kolasinac over the summer, and the player has been quite influential. However, problems continue to arise in the heart of the Gunners’ defence, making it necessary for the manager to seek reinforcements.
A strong potential target for Arsenal could be Chelsea’s summer target Kalidou Koulibaly. The Senegal international has been a rock for Napoli during his time at the club. At £53m, Koulibaly may be a tad bit more expensive for the Gunners since Wenger isn’t known for spending vast sums of money on the defence. However, Wenger should look at the deal as a long-term replacement for Laurent Koscielny or Per Mertesacker.
Although he struggled at first to adapt to life in Serie A following a move from Racing Genk in 2014, Koulibaly flourished in the two seasons that followed and is now attracting interest from some of the biggest sides in Europe, including Arsenal. Making 119 appearances since his 2014 arrival, scoring 3 goals, Koulibaly has picked up both team and individual trophies, winning the Supercoppa Italiana in his first season, while also being named in both the Serie A and African team of the year for 2016.
It’s these kinds of awards and performances that have drawn the admiring gaze of Europe’s elite clubs and Napoli will be determined to hold on to one of their prized assets, who has a contract running until 2021.
The 24-year-old really rose to prominence last season following a string of impressive displays. He has become quite well-known for his unique blend of height, strength and passing ability. Despite being over six feet tall, Koulibaly is very comfortable on the ball and is very light and quick on his feet. He is also adept at contributing to the attack.
Being able to play out from the back is an essential attribute for all Arsenal defenders under Wenger’s tutelage, and Koulibaly’s height makes him a great replacement for Mertesacker. The German is all set to retire at the end of the season and the need for a solid long-term replacement is quite evident.
Meanwhile, Napoli will be desperate to keep hold of their defender but, if Arsenal come calling, they may struggle to resist a big bid. Koulibaly is clearly a top defender and would add quality at the back, solidifying the Gunners’ push to towards a Premier League title challenge.