Kalidou Koulibaly remains an option that Manchester City should consider, claims Richard Dunne, telling Pep Guardiola he still needs a “leader” to replace Vincent Kompany at the heart of his back four.
Long-serving stalwart Kompany departed the Etihad Stadium during the summer of 2019. At that stage, Guardiola opted against dipping into the transfer market for a suitable successor.
Questions have been asked of that recruitment call, with defensive lapses having cost City dear at home and abroad in the 2019-20 campaign.
Nathan Ake has now been acquired to help plug those leaks while John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Nicolas Otamendi are still on the club’s books – but there could be further additions to come.
Dunne believes the Blues should move for Napoli centre-half Koulibaly, while RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano should be another in Guardiola’s thinking.
The former Citizens skipper told Sky Sports: “Defensively they have got numbers, they have got Stones and Otamendi, who have been playing, and [Eric] Garcia has been there.
“Whether they are the ones that they want, I don’t know. The way they play football, Stones and Otamendi certainly fit that bill perfectly.
“They have spoken about Koulibaly for a while and they are looking for a leader, they are looking for someone to replace Vincent Kompany. It’s been a problem when Vince was here and he was injured, they missed a centre-back of that style.
“If they do go for him [Koulibaly], it’s a good signing. He’s a bit older than the usual age bracket of signing players and we’ve seen in the Champions League how good Upamecano has been, so maybe he’s a player that might be of interest to them.
“I’m sure if he doesn’t get another centre-half that he’ll be happy with what he’s got because he likes how the players play. If he does, then great.”
Dunne added on the calls for Guardiola to address issues at the back: “I don’t think it can be pinpointed on the centre-halves, there were defensive-minded lapses – and they might come from a midfielder at times.
“It’s difficult because City have so much of the ball, to switch from attacking to defensive mindset so quickly is tough. They do get caught out from time to time but you watch the games and you think they’re amazing.
“If they could just change those lapses then they would be unstoppable. Maybe they do need that little bit of experience, someone who can organise the defence.”
City ended the 2019-20 campaign with just a Carabao Cup success to show for their efforts, but the countdown is now on to the new season and Guardiola will be looking for his side to compete across multiple fronts once again.