Why Arsenal signing Kalidou Koulibaly would be a huge statement of intent
According to Reach PLC’s Transfer Window Podcast host Ian McGarry (h/t Daily Mirror), Arsenal have contacted Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have looked shaky in defence so far this season, and new manager Mikel Arteta will be keen to bolster his options in defence ahead of the January transfer window.
With the defence in complete shambles, one of the top priorities for Arteta will be to sign a quality centre-back as soon as possible.
Considered one of Europe’s best defenders at the moment, the talented Senegalese would be a perfect fit for an Arsenal side that has been rather poor at the back this season. He is valued at around £55million by his club.
The Senegal skipper has been an inevitable presence at the back for Napoli over the past couple of years and has made over 232 appearances for them since arriving from Belgian side Genk in the summer of 2014. He has scored 10 goals and provided 5 assists for the Serie A outfit.
One of the stalwarts of Napoli’s first-team, Koulibaly has played 20 games across all competitions this season.
He has started in all their Champions League games so far and has helped them secure a spot in the knockout stages by finishing second in the group, signifying his worth in the Serie A side.
Since his debut in the 2014-15 season, Napoli has finished second thrice (2018-19, 2017-18, 2015-16), and finished third once (2016-17), further enhancing his reputation as a top-quality defender.
However, it has not been the best of seasons for Koulibaly so far, with Napoli struggling at 8th place in the league.
Meanwhile, it has not been so different for Arsenal either, who have been quite lacklustre this season. The Gunners have looked clueless at the back, with the side conceding 27 goals already – three more than what they have scored.
The North London side has been troubled by injuries this season, with many of their defenders such as Rob Holding and Calum Chambers spending most of their time on the sidelines.
Constant injuries to players combined with the inconsistencies of seasoned campaigners Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos led to former boss Unai Emery shuffling his defence from time to time this season.
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This seemed to affect the team’s tempo, with Emery struggling to find a perfect combination at the back for Arsenal. Summer signing and veteran defender David Luiz’s arrival has not had an effect either, with the Brazilian looking a mere shadow of his past.
With problems aplenty at the back, Arsenal and Arteta are surely in need of an established centre-back who could bring some stability to the backline and help them climb up the ladder.
Thus, by signing a top-defender like the Senegalese, Arsenal would be sending out a statement of intent, which could in boost the players and the club’s confidence – something which they really require at the moment.