The Reason Why Man City NEED To Sign Kalidou Koulibaly This Summer

We’ve reached that time of year again, when the transfer rumour mill starts to go into overdrive as clubs prepare for the new season by strengthening their playing squads.

And because we’re closing in on that time, the rumours of a certain Senegalese defender leaving Napoli are surfacing for what seems like the 10th straight transfer window.

It’s the new Wesley Sneijder to Man United.

That’s right, Kalidou Koulibaly is seemingly on the move. Napoli have done well to keep hold of the 29-year-old centre back for the last six years, but with Manchester City seemingly taking a serious interest in him, can they hold onto him for much longer?

Since joining Gli Azzurri from KRC Genk for just £6.5m, Koulibaly has taken to Italian football perfectly, with his presence at the back seeing Napoli challenge for Serie A titles (albeit unsuccessfully) and win the Coppa Italia this season.

With City certainly looking at centre-backs this summer, Koulibaly would be the perfect defender for Pep Guardiola’s squad, and someone that could finally fill the considerable hole left by Vincent Kompany last season.

There are two main factors which count against Koulibaly moving to City though; his age, and his price tag.

Ever since Europe’s biggest clubs started to sniff around the defender, Napoli’s extroverted owner Aurelio De Laurentiis has made sure everyone knows they’ll have to pay a premium for his services. A fee of north of £80m would be required to get him, and at the age of 29, that is putting off many of his suitors.

But, here’s the thing – that shouldn’t be an issue for Manchester City. In fact, it could well be the perfect combination for the now former Premier League champions.

With Liverpool set to win the league by more than 20 points, there’s clearly a massive gap to bridge. That gap has formed after City lost their most influential member of the squad (Kompany), and they’re set to lose another this summer in David Silva.

They need ready made replacements to come into the squad, especially in a key position like centre back. Aymeric Laporte is City’s number one in that position, but needs a regular partner alongside him. John Stones has suffered a crisis of confidence, while Nicolas Otamendi is too aggressive and unreliable.

Koulibaly brings that ready-made character to the side. At 29, people might say his best years are behind him, but with defenders regularly playing at their peak until their early 30’s, you could easily get four years of service out of him.

During that four years, Eric Garcia could and should develop into the player City believe he will become, having already showed promising signs when given the chance over the last 18 months.

City shouldn’t bring in another centre-back younger than 25, as that will freeze out Garcia for a longer term, providing Laporte keeps his fitness. Koulibaly could play alongside Laporte and give City a solid base on which to build another title challenge. He’ll also bring some much needed physicality to the City side, another area Kompany excelled in.

Looking through City’s regular starters, there’s only Rodri and Laporte that come in over 6’0″, and with both hardly known for their physical prowess, it leaves City looking somewhat lightweight at times.

As for the fee; is £80m really that much when you consider how much losing Vincent Kompany has cost you? If losing the Belgian makes your side go from the first to ever reach 100 points in the league to finishing 20+ points off the pace, you really should be prepared to spend big to bridge the gap.

And, with Leroy Sane set to leave for around £30m (providing Bayern low-ball City over the fee), and Joao Cancelo potentially leaving, the fee could quite feasibly be offset more.

Now is the time for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City 2.0. The legends of the club are reaching the end of their productive years and leaving for pastures new, and it’s going to cost to replace them. Starting with Koulibaly, the Citizens should be much closer to runaway winners Liverpool next season.

Crystal Palace 0-1 Burnley: Mee strikes for Clarets on milestone appearance

A week on from revealing his disappointment at a plane banner reading ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ during the club’s 5-0 thrashing by Manchester City, the defender was impressive throughout at Selhurst Park.

Mee ended his three-year wait for a goal with a header in the 62nd minute and it sealed a 1-0 win to move Sean Dyche’s men up to eighth in the Premier League.

Palace, despite enjoying the better of the contest in the second half, could not respond and suffered a second consecutive defeat.

Despite having no Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes or Jay Rodriguez, the Clarets made a strong start at Selhurst Park.

Palace began to grow in to the game, and the match went in to the break goalless.

VAR was required early on in the second half as the Eagles’ Jordan Ayew avoided a red card for catching Burnley’s Josh Brownhill with his arm.

A lacklustre Palace display was compounded when Burnley took the lead in the 62nd minute.

Ashley Westwood’s free-kick found Clarets captain Ben Mee, who stooped low to head beyond returning Palace keeper Vincente Guaita from 14 yards.

Guaita would have been disappointed after getting a hand to the effort, but the ball hit the post and rolled in to give the Clarets defender his first goal since January 2017.

Palace, who did enjoy the better of the game after the break, saw Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew all have opportunities, but the visitors stood firm to make it back-to-back 1-0 wins.

Final score: Crystal Palace 0-1 Burnley

West Ham United v Chelsea: Premier League Preview

The Hammers welcome the Blues in one of the biggest London derbies in recent memory, with both Frank Lampard and David Moyes craving the three points for different reasons.

Time is beginning to run out for West Ham, who haven’t picked up a point or scored a goal since the season restarted and go in to this one above the Premier League relegation zone on goal difference.

For Chelsea, a Champions League place is far but confirmed with Wolves and Manchester United hot on their heels.

With victory over Leicester on Sunday seeing them through to the FA Cup semi finals, Blues boss Lampard will be eyeing silverware as well as a top 4 berth.

However, any such success against West Ham may have to be without Christian Pulisic, with the American winger withdrawn against the Foxes with a tight calf.

Callum Hudson-Odoi hasn’t featured for Chelsea since the restart due to a niggling ankle problem, but could make his comeback at the London Stadium.

Defenders Fikayo Tomori and Andreas Christensen are both rated 50-50 ahead of the game and will be assessed.

West Ham will be without two key players in Robert Snodgrass and Sebastien Haller, with Snodgrass suffering with a back injury and the £45m Haller out with a hip problem.

Arthur Masuaku is the only other injury concern for the Hammers, and he will be subject of a fitness test.

West Ham United v Chelsea at the London Stadium is an 8.15pm kick off on Wednesday, July 1.

Everton v Leicester City: Premier League Preview

The Foxes make the trip to Goodison Park having seen their 8 point cushion in the top 4 cut to just 3, with their lack of form compounded with Manchester United and Wolves’ resurgence.

Brendan Rodgers side still remain in 3rd, but the gap is tightening, with Chelsea just a point behind.

And it was Frank Lampard’s Blues who formed the opposition for the Foxes on Sunday, with the London club ending Leicester’s dreams of a Wembley trip with a 0-1 victory in the FA Cup quarter final.

Everton’s return of 4 points from two post-restart games can be considered a good total, considering their two fixtures came from polarising opposition.

A Merseyside derby draw with now-champions Liverpool was followed up with three points against basement boys Norwich City.

Although a long shot, Carlo Ancelotti won’t have given up hopes of European football, which would represent a great effort considering early season relegation fears.

The 12th placed Toffees are 4 points from Tottenham Hotspur in 7th.

From a fitness perspective, Leicester are expected to once again be without the influential James Maddison – the midfielder has had injections on a hip injury which ruled him out of Sunday’s FA Cup tie with Chelsea.

Ricardo Pereira, so impressive before the season’s suspension, isn’t expected to play for the Foxes again before the season is out.

Jamie Vardy will be looking to hit his 100th Premier League strike at Goodison Park, with Leicester scoring just a single goal in their three games since the season resumed.

Everton will be missing Cenk Tosun and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, with the duo sidelined for the foreseeable future – but Yerry Mina and Fabian Delph could return to the fray for the first time since Project Restart began.

Ancelotti will also be without Theo Walcott, who is still recovering from surgery, and Djibril Sidibe, who is suffering with inflammation of the foot.

Everton v Leicester City at Goodison Park is a 6pm kick off on Wednesday, July 1

AFC Bournemouth v Newcastle United: Premier League Preview

The Cherries’ 5-year top flight stay is under threat, with the club in the relegation zone ahead of the Magpies’ visit.

Eddie Howe is yet to taste victory since the season’s resumption, with consecutive defeats for his side leaving them in danger of the drop.

With Watford and Aston Villa both losing in their last outings and West Ham welcoming Chelsea to the London Stadium, Wednesday’s clash with Newcastle United could be pivotal.

For the Toon, Steve Bruce saw his side exit the FA Cup at the quarter final stage on Sunday, where they were convincingly beaten by a dominant Manchester City.

With Newcastle seemingly safe from relegation, just a point from the ‘magic 40’ mark, progression in the FA Cup was capturing the minds of supporters – the club having not reached the last 8 of the competition for 14 years.

Steve Bruce’s side haven’t played away from St James’ Park since March 7, and haven’t won twice in a row on the road since January 2018.

Those stats will encourage Bournemouth gaffer Howe, who will be without leading marksman Callum Wilson – the striker suspended for this one after picking up his tenth yellow card of the season against Wolves.

Ryan Fraser turned his back on the Cherries’ cause after refusing to sign a short term contract, with the Scot officially becoming a free agent as of June 30.

Josh King will be back in contention for the visit of Newcastle, however, after missing the trip to Molineux with a knock.

Charlie Daniels and Simon Francis continue to recover from injury, whilst Philip Billing could have shaken off a dead leg picked up last time out.

Steve Bruce won’t have centre halves Florian Lejuene and Ciaran Clark at his disposal, with both missing out through injury, but may have midfielder Matt Ritchie available for the game against his former club should he pass a fitness test.

AFC Bournemouth v Newcastle United at the Vitality Stadium is a 6pm kick off on Wednesday, July 1.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester United: Premier League Preview

Fresh off the back of booking an FA Cup semi-final place at the weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will revert their attention back to league affairs, where they are firmly in the hunt for a Champions League place.

Wolves’ Premier League win over Aston Villa gives them a three-point advantage over United, who needed an extra time winner from Harry Maguire in their FA Cup quarter final to beat ten-man Norwich City on Saturday.

With 5th spot likely being enough for a Champions League place next season if Manchester City’s European ban is upheld, cross city rivals United will be feeling the pressure to keep pace with current occupants Wolves.

Brighton and Hove Albion meanwhile are yet to taste defeat in their two games since Project Restart began, with a smash-and-grab win over Arsenal backed up with a goalless draw at Leicester.

The Seagulls will not have felt comfortable when the season resumed, knowing they had one of the tougher run-ins and they were far from safe – but Graham Potter will no doubt be delighted with his side’s showing in their previous two outings.

Albion will be looking to carry that form on against a United side in good nick themselves, with the Red Devils unbeaten in 4 post-restart matches.

Anthony Martial will almost certainly pose a threat against Brighton, with the United forward’s treble against Sheffield United making him the first player to score a Premier League hattrick for the club since Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford – Robin van Persie the last man to achieve the feat in 2013.

The Frenchman will no doubt be full of confidence, as will many Manchester United fans following promising performances from marquee midfielders Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes.

Centre backs Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones are rated 50-50 to feature, whilst goalkeeper David de Gea is expected to return in goal after Sergio Romero was handed an opportunity in the FA Cup win at Carrow Road.

Graham Potter will be without Adam Webster against United, with the lanky centre back forced off with a hamstring strain against Leicester.

Former Chelsea youngster Tariq Lamptey suffered a nasty gash at the King Power Stadium which required stitches, but he is likely to be included.

Stephen Alzate is on the comeback trail and may feature, but Jose Izquierdo won’t play a part due to a persistent knee issue.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester United at the Amex Stadium is an 8.15pm kick off on Tuesday, June 30.

Arsenal v Norwich City: Premier League Preview

The Canaries are rock bottom of the Premier League table, 6 points from safety and with an inferior goal difference.

However, Norwich boss Daniel Farke may be buoyed by the resilient display in Saturday’s FA Cup quarter final with Manchester United, with it taking a Harry Maguire goal in the final stages of extra time to put his side out.

For Arsenal, a wretched restart to the Premier League campaign was steered back on track with back-to-back victories, where a 0-2 win at Southampton was followed with an FA Cup win over Sheffield United on Sunday.

Despite defeat in their opening two league games since Project Restart began, the door is still ajar for Arsenal to claim a Europa League place, with the ninth-placed Gunners two points off bitter rivals Spurs in seventh and just one point behind out-of-form Sheffield United.

Daniel Farke will be without Timm Klose for the trip to the Emirates after he saw red against Manchester United on Saturday.

The impressive Todd Cantwell, who scored against United, will be assessed ahead of play after picking up a knock, with Lukas Rupp also likely to have to prove his fitness.

Selection struggles don’t stop there for the German, who also has Grant Hanley, Sam Byram and Cristoph Zimmermann on the sidelines.

Arsenal’s injury list is lengthy also, with Mikel Arteta missing no fewer than 4 first team stars for the remainder of the campaign.

Disappointingly for Arteta, 3 of those were injuries sustained post-restart, with Gabriel Martinelli, Pablo Mari and Bernd Leno all joining Calum Chambers in the treatment room for the rest of the season.

Cedric Soares, who signed a permanent contract at the club last week despite not playing a game for Arsenal, is in line to make his debut.

Lucas Torreira is on the comeback trail for the Gunners after breaking his ankle in an FA Cup clash with Portsmouth before lockdown, but this game is expected to come too soon for the Uruguayan.

Arsenal v Norwich City is a 6pm kick off on Wednesday, July 1.

Tottenham linked with Real Madrid star Lucas Vazquez

The Spanish international has not featured regularly for Zinedine Zidane’s side this season, with injuries and the arrival of Eden Hazard blocking his path.

However, with the Spanish giants potentially open to a sale, reports from Teamtalk.com claim Jose Mourinho could make a move for his former player.

Vazquez is out of contract in Madrid next summer, and if Spurs meet their asking price of €15m, they could let him go next month.

And that’s your latest Premier League update, check back in tomorrow for more, with the Sport Social.

West Ham star Declan Rice linked with Chelsea return

The England international came through the youth ranks with the Blues, before being released and joining West Ham in 2015.

However, his impressive form this season has seen him emerge as a potential transfer target for a host of Premier League sides.

Chelsea will be on the hunt for transfer targets this summer, having already secured the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.

Frank Lampard is hoping the promise of playing him in his preferred position of centre back could lure him into a return to Stamford Bridge.

And that’s your latest Premier League update, check back in tomorrow for more, with the Sport Social.

Liverpool FC condemn excessive fan celebrations following arrests

Hundreds of fans contravened social distancing guidelines to celebrate along the city’s famous waterfront, with police stating arrest were made for a host of public order offences.

Two men have been charged from the incident, one for assault and another in connection with a flare being fired at a public building.

Liverpool FC have condemned the actions of what they describe as a minority of fans, with the club calling for no public gatherings ahead of their clash with Manchester City in midweek.

And that’s your latest Premier League update, check back in tomorrow for more, with the Sport Social.

FA Cup: Manchester City secure semi final spot with 2-0 Newcastle win

A goal either side of the break from Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling means Pep Guardiola’s side are in pole position to defend their title.

City were quick out of the blocks on Tyneside, with Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus and Sterling all wasting brilliant early chances.

And with the visitors hammering on the Newcastle door, it was only a matter of time before they took the lead.

Fabian Schar’s foul on Jesus was a soft one, but De Bruyne showed nerves of steel to bury his spot kick.
Steve Bruce threw on Joelinton and Dwight Gayle after the break.

And it was to be the former Crystal Palace man who missed their best chance to equalise.

Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross evaded everyone in a City shirt, but Gayle made a horrible connection and spooned it over the bar.

That stung City back into action two minutes later, as Aymeric Laporte released Phil Foden in behind, and cut back for Sterling to bury a game killing second.

City did have chances to make it three or four in the closing minutes, but in the end two goals were more than enough to set up a mouth-watering clash with Arsenal.

FULL TIME AT ST. JAMES’ PARK IT’S NEWCASTLE 0 MANCHESTER CITY 2

Premier League Review: Southampton power on with 3-1 win at Watford

A goal in either half for Danny Ings did the damage for the Saints, as they hit the magic 40 points mark, and Watford slip deeper and deeper into relegation danger.

Neither side were able to get a grip on the game in the opening stages, until Ings showed his class with bulleted finish on 18 minutes.

The visitors failed to build on that in the first half, and Hornets skipper Troy Deeney almost made them pay just before the break.

But with Southampton unable to see the game out, Watford still had a chance.

Well, that was until Ben Foster dropped an absolute clanger.

The former England international threw the ball straight to Ings on 70 minutes, and the former Liverpool man kept his cool to make it 2-0.

Watford did find themselves a route back into the game, as Jan Bedranek netted a comical own goal shortly after.

But the Saints were saved from a tense finale, as James Ward-Prowse swerved home a superb free kick.

FULL TIME AT VICARAGE ROAD IT’S WATFORD 1 SOUTHAMPTON 3