Newcastle in talks with top-class £70m Serie A star – Could he ease Bruce’s defensive woes?


Why Kalidou Koulibaly can bolster Newcastle United defence

According to Footmercato (h/t Daily Express), Newcastle United have already opened talks with Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Premier League side Newcastle United are expected to spend big in the summer once the £300million takeover of the club is completed. The Magpies have shortlisted the names of potential targets and Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly is one of them.

Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli in action during a Serie A encounter.
Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli in action during a Serie A encounter. (Getty Images)

Koulibaly has been a mainstay in Napoli’s defence since arriving from Belgian outfit Genk in the summer of 2014. A veteran of 233 matches for the Serie A side, Koulibaly has been key to Napoli’s domestic performances in the last five years.

However, despite his standout displays for Napoli, Koulibaly has just won the Italian Super Cup (2014-15) with them, mainly due to the undisputed dominance of rivals Juventus.

One of the few first names on the team sheet since his arrival, Koulibaly, however, has endured a difficult season this term. A series of injuries have seen the star defender feature just 15 times in the league this season.

Kalidou Koulibaly of SSC Napoli during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Bologna FC at Stadio San Paolo on December 01, 2019 in Naples, Italy. (Getty Images)
Kalidou Koulibaly has been a mainstay in the Napoli defence in the past couple of years. (Getty Images)

He still played in Napoli’s six Champions League fixtures this season, thus, signifying his worth in the current line-up. His excellent figures of 13 and 19 clean sheets respectively for Napoli in the 2018-19 and 2017-18 seasons give a fair idea of the star defender’s potential.

With Koulibaly’s rock-solid displays at the back for Napoli turning a lot of heads, it was no surprise he was awarded the Senegalese Footballer of the Year award consecutively in 2017 and 2018.

Koulibaly can offer Newcastle consistency at the back

With Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis open to the idea of letting the Senegal international leave this summer, Premier League clubs such as Newcastle have started making contact.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce reacts angrily on the touchline. (Getty Images)
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce reacts angrily on the touchline. (Getty Images)

However, it would cost the Magpies around £70million to sign the star defender and is possible only if the proposed club takeover happens. Meanwhile, Steve Bruce-led Magpies have struggled this season, with the club lying 13th in the table. Having conceded 41 goals from 29 league outings, it is clear that Newcastle do not have an established defender in their midst.

Despite having five centre-backs, Bruce has failed to stick to a defensive partnership due to lack of consistency. Also, with veteran centre-backs Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark already past their 30s, roping in the 28-year-old Koulibaly seems like the best option.

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Having proved his potential as a consistent and reliable defender in Italy, who better than Koulibaly to lead Newcastle’s defence if a deal happens. The Senegal star can also offer the Magpies some confidence at the back, something that they seem to lack at the moment. Hence, Koulibaly to Newcastle is, by all means, an excellent signing.