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Opinion: Could Kalidou Koulibaly join Manchester United this summer?

Reports of late have been suggesting that Manchester United could be interested in bringing Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, 28, to the club this summer.

Just one summer after signing Harry Maguire, a report from the Manchester Evening News explains that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be interested in signing Koulibaly as a partner for the England international.

Napoli have failed spectacularly in Serie A this season, sitting in sixth place and nine points behind Atalanta in fourth, perhaps prompting Koulibaly to search for a new club.

He will have no shortage of suitors, either; the Senegal international would arguably represent an upgrade for any of Europe’s top sides in defence. Koulibaly has incredible physicality, towering over his opponents at 6’4, but also has built his reputation as a sublime technical and ball-playing defender, averaging 64.7 passes in Serie A this season with a remarkable 89.3% accuracy, according to WhoScored.

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However, this move would arguably be the wrong one for Manchester United, given the club’s needs in other areas, and the profile of signing the defender would represent.

The MEN report notes that, while Solskjaer believes Koulibaly is one of the best defenders on the planet, he is content with his current defensive options and sees reinforcing the midfield and attack as a priority. United have conceded just two goals since the club’s last loss to Burnley in January, keeping 9 clean sheets in their last 11 matches with Maguire, Victor Lindelof, and Eric Bailly starting for United in defence against the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea.

Moreover, at 28, Koulibaly is entering the prime years of his career, while United have established a record of signing younger talents under Solskjaer. Maguire, 26 at the time, is the oldest player to join Manchester United since Jose Mourinho left the club in 2018. United, as a side, seem to be planning for the better part of the next decade, and at his age, Koulibaly would likely not follow the same trajectory.

As great a footballer as he may be, it is difficult to imagine Koulibaly joining United this summer.

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