In any regular summer time, pre-season can be the primary probability followers get to see of switch targets in a few months, the place the earlier marketing campaign has ended and gamers are sometimes in the course of complicated switch sagas.
However this is not a traditional summer time, so Manchester Metropolis will take Kalidou Koulibaly’s overhead aim in Napoli’s first pre-season pleasant with greater than a pinch of salt.
Clearly, Koulibaly’s efficiency in opposition to Barcelona simply 22 days in the past is far more of a sign of how the centre-back would match into the Metropolis workforce. In any case, that was a Champions League knock-out tie in opposition to a Barcelona aspect who hadn’t but been humiliated by Bayern Munich.
This was an 10-Zero pleasant win over an Italian sixth division aspect in a 45-minute match.
So earlier than we go any additional, let’s acknowledge that Napoli’s prime goal of their two 45-minute friendlies in opposition to L’Aquila and Castel Di Sangro can have been to construct up some health. Soccer journalists and followers will all the time attempt to learn extra into these video games, however the reality is that they had been all the time going to beat the opposition closely. It could be extra regarding in the event that they did not, however even then, it is solely a pleasant.
What may be measured although is how the gamers approached the sport and labored with one another.
So it is encouraging that Metropolis goal Koulibaly, who performed the primary sport in opposition to sixth tier Castel Di Sangra, made headlines for the correct causes – particularly contemplating he was picked in Napoli’s second string aspect.
It is a participant topic of loads of speak surrounding his future, and never simply from the media. Napoli president Aurelio Di Laurentiis has continuously been quoted discussing Koulibaly’s asking value, saying he will not depart until his valuation is met.
There are different gamers in world soccer who would bear in mind to curiosity from a membership like Metropolis and down instruments, or refuse to play in pre-season to drive a transfer. Nevertheless it’s to Koulibaly’s credit score that he seems to have remained skilled all through the summer time, and was motivated sufficient on this pleasant to attain regardless of being picked amongst Napoli’s second alternative XI.
He reacted quickest within the space to acrobatically hook residence a rebound off the crossbar, producing a photographer’s dream of a end.
Metropolis have arguably lacked motion, top and power at attacking set items lately. Aymeric Laporte and Rodri have helped in that space to an extent, however having somebody like Koulibaly would provide one other risk for defenders to take care of all collectively.
Within the context of a pre-season sport in opposition to a far inferior aspect, plus the skin curiosity from Metropolis, Koulibaly may have been forgiven for going by means of the motions.
As a substitute, he put in knowledgeable efficiency, regardless of being chosen in a second-string aspect earlier than a stonger XI beat L’Aquila 11-0, and confirmed Metropolis what he can provide going ahead in addition to what they know of his strengths in defence.
Whereas speak of Lionel Messi will understandably get followers excited, Koulibaly’s eye-catching end will remind Metropolis why he ought to stay their switch precedence this summer time.