Why Manchester City must plot a January swoop for Kalidou Koulibaly
According to a report from the Express, Aurelio De Laurentiis could sell Kalidou Koulibaly at the end of the season. The Napoli chairman has been left furious at the players’ failure to report to a training base, following their Champions League draw with Red Bull Salzburg last week (h/t The Express).
Kalidou Koulibaly, 28, has been one of the best central defenders in Serie A in recent years. The Senegal international holds an important place in Carlo Ancelotti’s plans and has started in all but two league games this season.
Back in June, Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t The Sun) had claimed that Manchester City were interested in signing Koulibaly. While a move didn’t materialize during the summer transfer window, Manchester City must rekindle their interest and test Napoli’s resolve in January with a cheeky bid for the defender.
City’s defensive problems were laid bare in their recent defeat to Liverpool. Their defensive problems, with Aymeric Laporte and goalkeeper Ederson both sidelined, were there for all to see.
The idea of not replacing former skipper Vincent Kompany in the summer has come back to bite Pep Guardiola, who was unfortunate to lose Aymeric Laporte to a knee ligament injury in September.
Laporte is set to be out of action for an extended period of time after he underwent successful surgery on his injured knee, which has left the club with two central defenders.
Nicolas Otamendi is one of those centre-backs but the Argentinean has been already blamed for City’s two defeats this season.
John Stones has been in and out of the team due to injury problems, forcing Guardiola to use defensive midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri at centre-back in earlier games this campaign.
Thus, it’s an absolute no-brainer to sign a centre-back in the mid-season trading period and Koulibaly would be a great fit at the Etihad.
Koulibaly has the same attributes and leadership qualities as the departed Kompany. The Senegalese is a supremely athletic and commanding presence at the back.
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The 28-year-old has averaged 2.6 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 3.6 clearances and 86.8% pass success rate across all competitions so far this season. [Courtesy: WhoScored.com]
If City are to retain the Premier League title, they must go all out to sign Koulibaly in January.