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25th Nov 2018

Manchester United to make January move for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly

Manchester United are looking to sign Napoli's best defender this January, or in the summer at the latest, to shore up their leaky defence

Reuben Pinder

Manchester United have a negative goal difference

As November comes to a close, Manchester United are the only team in the Premier League’s top half with a negative goal difference (-1), having conceded 21 goals in 13 matches.

By contrast, Manchester City have a positive goal difference of 35. More potent in attack and more organised in defence, City outperform their local rivals in every department, as they have been doing for the past few years.

It highlights a the crux of United’s current problems: their lack of identity. What are they? A defensive team who can’t defend? That’s no way basis on which to build a title challenge.

In a bid to fix their leaky defence, United look set to dip into the January market for a central defender. United boss José Mourinho was unhappy in the summer not to be able to sign one of Harry Maguire or Toby Alderweireld, but with the defence still looking suspect, United are now reportedly willing to splash out on a big name defender this winter.

With a reported £100m available to spend this January, United will make a move for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to The Mirror.

He would become the third centre-back Mourinho has signed during his reign at Old Trafford, and the sixth at the club, as long as no others depart.

Koulibaly’s ability is unquestionable; his complete skillset, combining awareness, technical ability, tackling prowess and physical power make him one of the world’s best. But convincing Napoli to part with their defensive linchpin mid-season will not be easy.

The Senegalese international caught people’s attention recently when he matched PSG star Kylian Mbappé for pace and executed a perfectly times tackle, showing the qualities that allow Napoli to play such a high line, even against the best opponents.

If United cannot sign him in January, they will go back in for him in the summer.