Manchester United are reportedly desperate to sign Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer window, irrespective of who the manager is at the time.
As per a report from The Sun, Manchester United are determined to land primary defensive target Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli before the next season, regardless of who the manager of the club will be at the time.
Manchester United have been looking to strengthen their defence since the summer transfer window, with former manager Jose Mourinho hell-bent on securing the signing of a centre-back. And the 27-year-old Koulibaly was believed to be one of the Portuguese’s top targets in the summer. However, no move materialized at the time.
Mourinho is not in-charge at the Manchester United anymore, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer getting appointed as the interim manager till the end of the season. And the results have significantly improved under the Norwegian, with the Red Devils currently unbeaten in their nine matches under the new regime.
However, the defence continues to pose a problem for the 20-time English champions, as they have managed to keep just three clean sheets in Solskjaer’s nine games at the helm.
Victor Lindelof has been exceptional in recent matches for Manchester United, but Eric Bailly and Phil Jones continue to be inconsistent, while Marcos Rojo has spent more time out on the treatment table than on the field this term. Chris Smalling has impressed in bursts, but has been sidelined for a while now.
With Jones in the final year of his contract with the club, it is imperative that United bolster their options at the back in the summer. And irrespective of whether Solskjaer remains in-charge next season or if the club decide to bring in a new manager, Koulibaly will be the top priority for Manchester United going into the next transfer window.
The 27-year-old man mountain has been with Napoli for over four years now, having joined from Belgian outfit Genk in 2014 and has established himself as one of the best central defenders across Europe. Till date, he has racked up 191 appearances for the Partenopei, scoring eight goals and setting up seven more in the process.
In the ongoing term, Koulibaly has featured 27 times across all competitions under former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti. The 32-time capped Senegalese international signed a new contract with Napoli in September last year, extending his stay at the club till the summer of 2023, but had recently dropped a major hint that he would be open to a switch to Manchester United.
Koulibaly is expected to cost Manchester United a humongous transfer fee in the range of £90 million – a world record transfer for a defender, eclipsing the £75 million Liverpool shelled out for Virgil van Dijk last January.
Given Manchester United’s failings at the backs this season, they would stand to benefit greatly by investing in the 27-year-old in the summer window. But, it remains to be seen if they are able to get their hands on their man or if he ends up staying put in Italy.