Sports Monks

Kalidou Koulibaly shows why he can be Manchester United’s Virgil Van Djik

For 34 minutes, Napoli defender, Koulibaly kept Salah in his pockets before squaring him up with his quick turn to score the winning goal. For the rest of the game, he was a towering of strength which kept the likes of Salah and physically dominating Bobby Firmino in check. When Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho travels to Valencia on Wednesday night, in his mind, he would want a solid center back in his first-team squad.

With United qualifying for the knockout stages safely, Mourinho has given a chance to a lot of second-team youngsters in the first team. So for 90 minutes, his mind will be somewhere else. Koulibaly could be the man Mourinho need in his central defense. Mourinho has made it no secret that he is in dire pursuit of a central defender and no doubt Koulibaly can be what Virgil Van Dijk is to Liverpool. Having missed out on Leicester City’s Harry Maguire and Tottenham Hotspurs Toby Alderwield, Mourinho has tried several times to fetch the Ivorian central defender to Old Trafford. United have been quoted £90 million for the 27-year-old during a recent meeting between senior officials of both clubs to discuss a mid-season transfer.

Van Dijk has been phenomenal for Liverpool after coming for £75 million from Southampton in last year’s winter transfer window. Van Dijk has almost single-handedly transformed Liverpool’s defense from a shambolic show into one that gives virtually nothing away.

With Napoli knocked out of Champions League, the door could be more open for Koulibaly to join the Red Devils. The Napoli man proved himself adept at defending one-on-one situations last night, regularly finding himself up against Salah. But his pace and physicality looked like a Premier League defender in-waiting with his performance at Anfield, making 44 passes, seven clearances, and five blocks. Inevitably, Koulibaly reminds Mourinho of what Van Djik is to Liverpool

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