Why Man United should target Milan Skriniar instead of Kalidou Koulibaly
According to a report from Sky Sports, Manchester United have made Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly as their number 1 transfer target. The Reds have kept just 5 clean sheets this campaign while conceding 35 goals in the Premier League so far this season, more than the likes of 14th-placed Crystal Palace and 15th placed Newcastle.
Victor Lindelof has been the undisputed first-choice in central defence with Phil Jones partnering him in the last few games but if the Red Devils want to reach the heights they did under Sir Alex Ferguson, the latter is just not good enough. With Chris Smalling unreliable and Eric Bailly slowly regaining his confidence, Manchester United will be on the hunt for a world-class centre back in the summer.
Kalidou Koulibaly has been an ever-present figure in the Napoli team since making his move from Genk in 2015. The 27-year-old is under contract until the summer of 2023 with Napoli. The Senegalese is a proven commodity for United to invest in but he won’t come cheap.
United should look at someone of the same quality but a younger head, somebody who would emulate what Rio Ferdinand did for so many seasons. Keeping that in mind, Inter Milan’s Slovakian centre-back Milan Skriniar could be the answer.
In 2017, Milan Skriniar became the most expensive Slovak player of all time after his move to Inter Milan from Sampdoria. The Nerazzurri paid €34million for him. Still only 23, his performances have been incredible and has become a fan favourite at Inter.
Having played every single minute his debut season with Inter, Milan Skriniar helped the Italian giants return to the Champions League after six years. But as footfall has shown us time and again, everybody has a price and there will always be somebody who will pay what’s required.
When it comes to stats, Skriniar’s numbers blow his rivals out the water. Last season, he averaged 2.3 tackles per game compared to Koulibaly’s 1.5 and 4.5 clearances per game compared to Koulibaly’s 3.2. In terms of passing both players shared an identical pass success percentage of 91.2% and key passes per game of 0.2. But Milan Skriniar being 4 years younger than Koulibaly has a lot of time to improve and in a few years could become one of the best centre-backs in world football.
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The defender’s performances have led to reported interest from the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Barcelona. Ed Woodward will have to be smart in his choice and go for Milan Skriniar, who could be better in terms of both value for money and quality of football than Koulibaly.