Manchester United are in search of a new central defender, and it is unsurprising, to be honest. Chris Smalling has put in a decent shift and Phil Jones has been error-prone. Eric Bailly has been troubled by injuries, while Victor Lindelof is still adapting to the league. Marcos Rojo’s fitness is always under doubt.
Though Bailly and Lindelof will surely feature regularly next season, United desperately need better quality options and more competition for that position. Recent reports claim that United are looking to sign Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli this summer.
Koulibaly has impressed in the past few years with his assuring form at the back. United are looking at him to solve their defensive woes, and here we analyze whether he would be a suitable target for Jose Mourinho.
Koulibaly: The best centre-half in Europe.
Koulibaly is an absolute beast at the back, as he is physically imposing and technically equipped at the same time. He tends to read attacks willingly, as the Senegal international is extremely adept at breaking attacks with his astute positioning without the ball. Kalidou has a knack for visualizing attacking moves better and quicker than his peers visualize, and that makes the defence almost impenetrable.
He is strong on the tackle, wins the ball back precisely well and then circulates the possession to the midfield and the forward players. Unlike many defenders, he is always looking to initiate attacks from deeper areas and that enables the team to stay higher up on the pitch and accordingly to create more offensive chances. Koulibaly never looks to shy away from passing the ball forward, and his ball-playing ability is probably the best amongst all central defenders in Europe.
He can break the opposition’s first and second line of defence with his precise passes that usually pick out the intended man who is ready on the attacking move. Having scored five goals this season, it is an extremely good goal-scoring return from a centre-half. Napoli have relied on him to hold the defence together and hence the lad is not adverse to responsibilities too. He has recorded a passing accuracy of 91% in the league this season.
Should United make a move?
United are in search of a central defender, but it is surely not the primary objective in their priority list. They need better fullbacks first, and a central defender would be finalized only when they bring the fullbacks on board. In reality, Koulibaly can cost a lot and Napoli would not let him leave in cheap. There are chances that he could become the most expensive defender in world football too.
Hence, though he might be the perfect signing for Jose, the club cannot warrant that huge sum for Koulibaly. Signing him could possibly stunt the proceedings of other more important deals. Jose might refrain from spending too much and would rather look for cheaper alternatives (read Toby Alderweireld).