Kalidou Koulibaly: What does the future hold?

Kalidou Koulibaly - What does the future hold?GOAL
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    More success on the horizon for Kalidou Koulibaly?

    After a rather underwhelming 12 to 18 months for the Senegal defender, there was an upswing in performance in the last 12 months for club and country.

    Koulibaly was instrumental to Napoli returning to the Champions League and Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations success in February.

    Is the former Genk defender set for more feats for club and especially country in the new season?

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    The story of last season

    Without a doubt, Afcon success with Senegal was a dream come true for Koulibaly who played five of the West African nation’s seven games in Cameroon. The centre-back banished memories of 2019’s final which he was suspended for by producing a strong display against Egypt.

    For Napoli, K2 was back at his best for the Partenopei, showing the form that made him one of Europe’s finest defenders in years gone by as Luciano Spalletti’s team ended in the Champions League spots after a two-year absence.

    While their inability to sustain a Serie A challenge hurt some of the Naples faithful, it was a productive season for the club that hit its targets.

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    Any transfer rumours?

    As is often the case with Koulibaly every summer, reports linking the Senegal international with a transfer away from the club are rife with Chelsea and Juventus linked with the experienced 31-year-old.

    It is believed Napoli are holding out for a fee of around £37 million for the player entering the final year of his contract at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, and it remains to be seen if the current world champions or the Old Lady match that asking price.

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    One big hope for 2022/23

    After this year’s Afcon success, Koulibaly will have his sights set on helping Senegal go as far as they can in the World Cup to be held in Qatar.

    This current group were eliminated four years ago by the finest of margins and this year’s tournament probably represents their final opportunity for players majorly on the wrong side of 30.

    Koulibaly and his colleagues will aspire to match the 2002 side and perhaps even become the first African nation to make it to the last four at the World Cup.

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    One big fear for 2022/23

    The dread of injuries scuppering his World Cup aspirations this year must weigh heavily on the defender who will be 35 by the time the next competition comes around.

    This year’s tournament may well be his last chance of participating as a vital cog in Senegal’s first team and missing the finals will be hard to swallow.

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    GOAL’s prediction for 2022/23

    Aside from World Cup success for the Lions of Teranga, must be a desire to see Koulibaly finally get that big move away from Naples.

    Aurelio De Laurentiis has often driven a hard bargain regarding the centre-back but this year’s reported asking price seems reasonable enough for one of Europe’s top sides to swoop.

    Competing on a higher level and challenging for top trophies will please the defender after so many years of service to Napoli, and we are predicting just that for Koulibaly.