Manchester United Reportedly in 'Pole Position' to Sign Kalidou Koulibaly

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2018

Napoli's Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly heads the ball during the Italian Serie A football match Genoa vs Napoli at the Luigi-Ferraris stadium on November 10, 2018 in Genoa. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester United are reportedly in "pole position" to sign Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, but he is valued at £89 million by the Italian club.

According to Tom Hopkinson in the Mirror, Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho is eager to move for him in January and Koulibaly is open to a transfer to the Premier League, with Chelsea and Liverpool also interested. 

United will return for him in the summer if they can't strike a deal in the upcoming transfer window, but they are eager to get a deal done sooner rather than later, added Hopkinson.

It is no surprise Mourinho is looking to add a new, commanding centre-back to his squad as United have been awful in defence this season.

They have conceded 21 goals in 13 matches—just seven fewer than they let in all of last term—and kept only two clean sheets.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Max Meyer of Crystal Palace and Victor Lindelof of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on November 24, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly are regular fitness concerns and seem to have completely lost Mourinho's trust, while Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof are not consistent enough.

United do not currently have a defensive leader, nor a centre-back who can be trusted on a regular basis. Koulibaly could solve that problem.

The 27-year-old is experienced at the top level, having been a key part of Napoli's first team since he joined in 2014.

His obvious defensive attributes come from his physicality and his pace, but the Senegal international is also an intelligent reader of the game and is excellent delivering the ball out from the back:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Most accurate passes in Serie A this season: 🥇 M. Brozovic -- Inter (818) 🥈 K. Koulibaly -- Napoli (791) 🥉 M. Pjanic -- Juventus (764) https://t.co/x7C9pK8Ce8 https://t.co/k6LEpUOySu

Great United teams of the past were always built on a stout defence that allowed for the swashbuckling attacking style the club was known for under Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Manchester outfit currently have part of the puzzle in David De Gea, but the defenders in front of him are just not good enough.

Koulibaly has all the attributes to be a big part of the solution to United's defensive woes, and even at £89 million he could be worth the money given the club's struggles.