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Manchester United and Kalidou Koulibaly: A match made in heaven but will the club make a move?

Manchester United are reportedly hopeful of striking a deal with Napoli for Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer. The player will turn 28 in June and will cost a hefty fee with up to £100 million being touted for the player. The Standard has suggested the Koulibaly remains United’s primary target, at least they state that about the January window, suggesting that the club made two bids for the player.

Ed Woodward would prefer to sign Raphael Varane from Real Madrid but we all know that is not going to happen. There is no way that the Madrid club will seel a player such as Varane, who has started 17 times for his club in La Liga this season. United will have to admit defeat there. United did want him in the days of Sir Alex Ferguson with Phil Jones arriving at the club when the Frenchman seemingly picked Madrid over Manchester.

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It has been suggested that Koulibaly is eager to play in the Premier League and if United did not want to sign him, there would probably be interest from other big-spending clubs, which would be an instant negative for United. This season, Victor Lindelof has been in great form, making himself the first-choice central defender at the club and despite being paired alongside Eric Bailly recently, a defensive partner of stature would be beneficial for the Swedish international.

During the last summer transfer window, when Jose Mourinho was in charge of the club, the Portuguese manager wanted to bring in a commanding and experienced central defender. Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham Hotspur was hotly linked to the club, as was Harry Maguire of Leicester City, amongst others. However, Ed Woodward chose not to dabble in the transfer market, briefing the media that the players already at the club were better than the players Mourinho had wanted.

Fast forward nearly six months and you will see that Chris Smalling has signed a new contract and there are reports suggesting Phil Jones will be given a new long-term contract too. Added to the fact that United still has Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo at the club, not to mention Lindelof, it makes you wonder where Koulibaly would fit into the squad. Obviously, United would need to offload one or two players, which would have been suited with Smalling and Jones out of contract this summer.

Some on social media would suggest that Smalling would be the player most likely to be sold this summer but his new contract and the wage he currently gets would make it tough to get rid of him, as has been established in the past. Jones could leave this summer, but if a new contract is being offered to him, he will snap that up, meaning he is at the club until the day he retires. That would leave Marcos Rojo, who signed a new contract in March 2018, which may make it difficult to offload him, based on his wage.

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Bailly could be the most likely player to leave, based on his injury record and the fact he has not played much recently, even when fit. It is just a thought though, nothing has been reported as likely although the player has been linked with Arsenal, who made a loan bid for the player last month, which was rejected. To add to this, Axel Tuanzebe will return to United in the summer, after a season-long loan at Aston Villa, also Tim Fosu-Mensah, who is currently at Fulham, who has played four times in the last three months.

After all the summer transfer windows that have gone by, United have been linked to players that would have made them a force in the Premier League, domestic cups and in Europe. It is great being linked to these players but with owners such as the Glazers and an incompetent executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, it would seem that being linked to players such as Koulibaly is not the same as the club being interested and buying the player. United will probably make few changes this summer, changing nothing significant.

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