Why Man City should break the bank for Kalidou Koulibaly in January
Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte will be out until January or February after damaging his cartilage and lateral meniscus in a challenge with Brighton defender Adam Webster. He has had surgery on his right knee after being carried off in the 4-0 win over Brighton on 31 August.
The Frenchman, 25, has established himself as one of the best defenders in the Premier League. He made 51 appearances across all competitions last season, playing a crucial role in Manchester City’s domestic treble.
In the season and a half Laporte has been at the Etihad, he has already won five trophies and become an integral member of the squad. He has been City’s best defender in that time and his absence for a lengthy period of time could have serious implications on the Premier League title race.
Guardiola knows his central-defensive options are thin since Vincent Kompany returned to former club Anderlecht in the summer and Eliaquim Mangala joined La Liga side Valencia. There is the option of using holding midfielder Fernandinho as an auxiliary centre-back, but the 34-year-old is hardly the ideal solution.
It’s bad time for the Cityzens to be left short in a key area, with competitions such as the Champions League and the Carabao Cup soon to start. Thus, it would make complete sense for Guardiola if he signs a new central defender in January.
City should make a move for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, who was heavily linked with a move to Etihad over the summer transfer window.
The Senegal international, 28, was named best defender for the 2018-19 season, in which he made 34 league appearances for Napoli.
He may not have enjoyed an ideal start for Carlo Ancelotti’s side this season, but there is no doubting the 28-year-old’s quality and experience he’ll bring if he decides to swap Stadio San Paulo for Manchester City.
Kalidou Koulibaly is one of the few players anywhere in Europe who is capable of strolling into City’s starting XI without breaking a sweat. He has emerged as an excellent ball-playing defender since his move to Napoli from Racing Genk. Standing at 6ft 4in tall, the Senegal international is incredibly strong in the air and equally quick through along ground.
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Athletic and tenacious in the tackle, the 28-year-old possesses all of the physical attributes needed to be a success in the Premier League. Koulibaly would replace Laporte in City’s defence, whilst being the ideal partner for John Stones.
Whether Manchester City would be prepared to break their bank on another defender remains to be seen, but if Guardiola does manage to sign Koulibaly, it could turn out to be a signing of real significance for the Mancunian club.