Why Kalidou Koulibaly Joining Manchester City Would Be a Good Deal for All Parties

Jun 30, 2020, 6:00 PM GMT+1
Kalidou Koulibaly
Kalidou Koulibaly has been a revelation at Napoli in the past few season | Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

With speculation linking Manchester City and Kalidou Koulibaly continuing to do the media rounds, there's a real possibility that Napoli's best defender could finally be ready to take the next step in his career.

While there may be tears in the streets of Naples if he does leave, Koulibaly is likely to command a healthy transfer fee - something that may benefit Gli Azzurri in the long run, despite the obvious weakening of their backline.

As for the player himself, the prospect of playing for genuine title contenders, as well as for the great Pep Guardiola, would surely be too good an opportunity to turn down.

Here, 90min looks at how each party could benefit from any potential deal.

Future Club: Manchester City

It may seem like the most obvious statement ever, but Manchester City desperately need a central defender.

With the departure of the talismanic Vincent Kompany last season, the champions were left with a gaping hole in their defence. So what did the club do? Well, nothing.

As Liverpool romped to a Premier League title for the first time, Manchester City were left wondering what might had been had they brought in a new central defender.

Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones
John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have struggled to fill the void left by Vincent Kompany | Dan Istitene/Getty Images

While they have spent money unwisely before in the defensive area - and while perhaps one player may not be enough to close the gap on the Reds next season - Guardiola's side are crying out for a dominant force at the back. Step forward - Kalidou Koulibaly.

The 29-year-old has both brute strength and a calmness on the ball that has endeared him to the Napoli faithful, while his ability to command the defence has been illustrated on a number of occasions - such as that widely circulated video of him pushing team mate Mario Rui into a challenge.

Not only is he a strong and powerful presence, but his use of the ball is also likely to be a key factor in Guardiola's interest in the player.

Makeshift central defender in Fernandinho has been effective at times, but the Brazilian is simply better suited to a midfield role, while his stint in defence is hopefully just a short-term fix.

The thought of a defensive partnership of Aymeric Laporte and Koulibaly, however, is a mouthwatering prospect, and one which should help alleviate the defensive calamities that have been so common place for the Citizens this season - just look at the game against Chelsea.

While no man could ever replace City's former captain, there are very few players as up to the task as Koulibaly.

Current Club: Napoli

While it's easy to see why City would benefit from the acquisition of the former Genk man - his passing prowess, strength, speed, aerial dominance and leadership - it's perhaps a little more difficult to understand how his current club Napoli would benefit.

Well for starters, he's not necessarily been the guaranteed first-choice central defender this term, with the arrival of Kostas Manolas and the form of Nikola Maksimovic often relegating Koulibaly to the substitutes bench.

That being said, he is still a world class talent and there aren't many defenders that you'd elevate into that category.

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However, with a reported £75m plus fee to soften the blow, it may allow Gennaro Gattuso and Aurelio De Laurentiis to set about building a new era at the Stadio San Paolo.

With Koulibaly approaching his thirties, there won't be many more opportunities to command such a hefty transfer fee - particularly in a post-coronavirus football world.

After the departures of Marek Hamsik, Edinson Cavani and Gonzalo Higuain, Napoli have struggled to consistently challenge for Serie A - and Koulibaly's sale could generate funds to procure a new generation of stars capable of toppling the Old Lady.

The Player: Kalidou Koulibaly

And what of the player himself? Well, the move to Guardiola's side would represent a real coup for a player who was something of an unknown for or four five years ago.

It wasn't until the arrival of Maurizio Sarri at Napoli in 2015 that people began tosit up and take notice of a player who had spent his early career with Metz and then Genk.

Koulibaly spent two years with Genk from 2012 to 2014 | JOHN THYS/Getty Images

Since then, he has been on the radar of a number of Europe's top sides as his performances continued to attract attention - he was also one of the first names linked with Newcastle amid a mega-money takeover.

At 29, time is running out to secure one big move, so Koulibaly should understandably have the desire to move onto pastures new. He could even have a similar impact to Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool, stabilising a defence that looks shaky and vulnerable pretty often.

Those reasons are enough to make the move a new brainer.