Reports: Jose Mourinho chasing star defender for Manchester United
What’s the story?
According to Duncan Castles of the Times, Jose Mourinho is trying his best to convince the Manchester United hierarchy to sign a potentially world-class central defender in January. Hence, he would like to sign a player of the calibre of Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.
In Case You Didn’t Know…
Manchester United have suffered majorly due to the lack of a commanding and technically-equipped centre-back in their roster. Recent recruitments like Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof have faltered as Chris Smalling remains Mourinho’s only reliable centre-half currently.
United chased the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Harry Maguire in the summer but none of the transfers could materialize; arguably due to the reluctance of chief executive Ed Woodward’s to spend a major amount on a player with low commercial value.
The Heart of the Matter
Ever since the start of the season, United have been unable to maintain the sort of defensive solidarity that is required. Their centre-halves have regularly committed avoidable errors and lack the ability to ‘play the ball out from the back’. Though Bailly and Lindelof could do the same, both of them have had their own issues in other aspects too.
Bailly’s lack of concentration and occasional brain-fades were visible in the matches against Brighton & Hove Albion and in his short stay on the pitch against Newcastle United. Lindelof has struggled to cope and deal with physically dominant forwards and hence the duo has failed to instil some sort of reliability in the backline.
Kalidou Koulibaly could be an excellent prospect to bolster United’s defensive scenario in January. The Senegalese international is strong and robust, but his ball-playing skills set him apart from the rest. His game-awareness is top notch and that allows him to intercept, break and launch attacks from the back.
He is aerially dominant, defensively solid and creative in terms of initiating attacks from deeper areas. This could allow the likes of Paul Pogba to play even ahead on the pitch and thus have more influence in the offensive moves. Koulibaly has been a leader at the back for Napoli and his arrival could certainly fill a major hole in United’s squad.
Rumour Probability: 7/10
Duncan Castles is a well-known trusted aide of Mourinho and this could be a move played by the Manchester United manager to make the board and fans aware of his intentions in the January transfer window. The fact that the board let him down in the summer is well publicized and hence this could be an attempt by the manager to conduct the negotiations beforehand to avoid any further delays.
Koulibaly is one of the most promising defenders currently in European football.
Mourinho’s team are due to play Juventus twice in the group stages of the Champions League. They will also face Manchester City on 11th November. Koulibaly’s arrival could certainly strengthen United’s chances of achieving their objectives in the second half of the season.