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Why Chelsea’s acquisition of Kalidou Koulibaly may rekindle their pursuit of the Premier League championship

EPL: Chelsea Complete Signing Of Koulibaly From Napoli

Chelsea was under pressure to bolster the center of their defense this summer after losing two centre-backs to free agency in Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger during a frantic few months on and off the field. But they managed to secure Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for over €40 million, making him one of the greatest defenders in the league.

Koulibaly has established himself in Serie A since moving to Napoli from Genk for about €8 million in 2014. When asked what his weak areas were, one head scout from the Italian league told ESPN: “What are the flaws? It’s challenging [to find any]. He’s among the greatest in his field right now. Even his concentration lapses are becoming less frequent as he keeps improving, especially in the cerebral aspect of his game.”

Games: 27 (12th= at Napoli)
Minutes: 2,406 (5th)
Touches: 1,966,391 (5th)
Recoveries: 167 (5th)
Pass Completion: 86.9% (10th)
Tackle %: 44.2% (4th)
Duel %: 59.5% (4th)
Aerial Duel %: 55.2% (6th)
*Correct as of July 20, 2022

 

With the exception of the odd mistakes that can be expected when playing in a position where any error is typically exposed, Koulibaly’s game does really have few weaknesses. The occasional error comes with the territory for centre-backs because they are constantly in the heart of defensive action and must read the game properly and timing their interventions to the nanosecond. However, Koulibaly often exudes an air of control, and when he challenges anything, he does so with complete conviction.

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