According to Italian publication Calciomercato (h/t Daily Express), Real Madrid are preparing a bid for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. The 28-year-old has been Real’s long-term target for some time now.
The 11-time European champions consider him as a potential future replacement for veteran defender Sergio Ramos, the report added.
However, skipper Ramos is still rock-solid in defence and is one of their top performers. The mere 11 goals they conceded so far lays even more claim to his defensive abilities.
However, he is 33 years old and Real needs a worthy candidate to fill those shoes once the Spaniard decides to retire or prefer a move elsewhere.
With this in mind, Real are eyeing a move for the Senegalese giant, who has been a standout performer in the Napoli defence for the past few years. An FC Metz academy player, Koulibaly made a name for himself after joining Genk in 2012.
He spent two seasons with the Belgian outfit and established himself as a regular there.
While playing with Genk, his consistent displays at the back had caught the attention of Napoli, who landed him at the Stadio San Paolo in the summer of 2014.
Since then, the physically strong yet elegant centre-back has been a regular and has played 229 matches, thereby signifying his importance within the team. To date, Koulibaly has scored 10 goals and assisted 5 times. He currently captains his national side and has featured in 33 games for them.
The two-time Senegalese footballer of the year (2017, 2018) has enough credentials to prove his worth and it is no wonder Real are interested in the big centre-back.
Meanwhile, Real had a rather forgetful outing in the Champions League last year, losing to a young Ajax side in the round of 16. Many had questioned the team’s stability in defence as they were being cracked open by Ajax’s attackers.
However, they were quick to react and made a few signings in the summer in order to bolster their squad.
Among them is Brazilian defender Eder Militao, who arrived from FC Porto. However, he is still 21 and lacks enough game experience. Nevertheless, Ramos and Raphael Varane have once again regained form and look solid at the heart of Madrid’s defence.
However, this would not help them in the long run, with Ramos turning 33 already. Nacho is nearing his thirties and has never quite cemented a spot for himself in the starting eleven.
Hence, it is very necessary for Real to look out for an established defender who could partner alongside Varane if they intend to stay as a dominant force in the league and the European competition.
Statistically, Koulibaly is an excellent passer of the game and has recorded a pass success of 89% this season, which shows what he is capable of. (Source: Whoscored).
Also, with 2.4 tackles and 5.6 clearances per match in the Champions League, there is definitely no questioning his defensive prowess. (Source: Whoscored).
Considering all his attributes and the bagful of experience under his belt, Koulibaly surely is a worthy contender to replace veteran Sergio Ramos.
Moreover, his inclusion in Madrid’s backline will make them a force to reckon with in the Champions League, which once used to be their happy hunting ground.
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