Kalidou Koulibaly moving to Manchester United seems imminent, with the Napoli defender courting a massive fee.
The Serie A side values the Senegalese international highly, but United are likely to go ahead with the deal due to the pressing need for a leader in the heart of their defense.
If not in January, the move will surely materialize by this summer. Let us have a look at what will occur when he does shift clubs:
1. Record Fee Paid For A Defender
Liverpool shocked the world when they paid £75 million to Southampton to make Virgil Van Dijk the world’s most expensive defender. Now, United seem set on breaking even that figure, with certain reports quoting prices in excess of £90 million for the 27-year old.
Fans will certainly be hoping this will be the end of the club’s big spending spree, which has seen transfer records broken from Mata through Pogba and a host of questionable talent populating the places in between, some of whom aren’t even at the club right now.
2. Competition For Van Dijk
After being stripped of the title of the world’s most expensive defender, Van Dijk could also face stiff competition for the top spot in the position in England. While the Dutchman’s abilities are impeccable, the manner in which Koulibaly functions at Napoli seems like a surefire challenge.
The only advantage that the Liverpool star could hold is his experience in the Premier League, particularly in its present-day competitiveness, a region where the Senegalese international is yet to be proven in.
3. Phil Jones/Marcos Rojo Out
Bringing in a centre-back will mean an assured exit as well, as United aren’t struggling for numbers at the back, but rather lack in quality.
Either one of Phil Jones or Marcos Rojo appears to be ripe candidates for an exit. The duo hasn’t been quite impressive as of late, and the improvement of Lindelof leaves absolutely no doubt.
Jones, 26, and Rojo, 28, shouldn’t have much need to worry, as their ages and the United experience could still land them a decent gig elsewhere, but perhaps not necessarily one with a European powerhouse.
4. Even More Attack
One aspect that was leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from fielding his lads to attack even more is the fear that their backline would be left easily penetrable. Even though Victor Lindelof made some astonishing forward runs in the first two games under the Norwegian, it is easy to see that his offensive abilities were cut short a little in the later games.
Now, with a player like Koulibaly to rely upon, the club can afford to free even Lindelof, with Solskjaer likely to adapt to the attacking 4-2-3-1 used by Pochettino at Spurs to his own rendition of the formation. In fact, if the defender arrives in the summer and it’s the Argentinian who is at the helm, then an identical system might be in force at Old Trafford.
5. Top Four Confirmed
On the topic of his arrival, if the deal is secured in January itself, United will have little to worry about going forward. Their backline secured, Solskjaer will be given full reign to go all-attacking with United, ensuring that the club will challenge hard for the top-four and make it a point to secure their place.
In fact, it may not be unfathomable to think that with Koulibaly in tow, the English side could go much further in the Champions League than initially thought of. Such is the magnitude of the defensive problem that United have.
6. The Next Ferdinand-Vidic?
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic manned what was arguably the finest defensive pairing in the history of the Premier League, with United’s backline being an impenetrable fortress.
Now, with the kind of form that Lindelof has been putting on, it seems just perfect that he ought to be gifted with a talented and reliable partner in defense.
The duo of Koulibaly and Lindelof will certainly look to ape the kind of success that the former duo achieved at Old Trafford. However, this will be a bigger relief for the fans, who simply haven’t seen a worthwhile defensive pairing since the iconic duo departed Manchester United.
7. A Nightmare In Training
One can only imagine what kind of horror Koulibaly will be in training for some of United’s younger players. Already having to deal with the near unassailable clutches of David De Gea, the youth talent could soon be tasked with trying to beat the Senegalese as well.
It will certainly be a miracle if they are able to even reach De Gea after he arrives. In fact, it isn’t entirely unfathomable to consider that in order to see goals while in training, Solskjaer himself may have to step in and instruct the youngsters how to score goals.