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92% pass accuracy, 6ft 2: Man City must prioritise half price Koulibaly alternative – Opinion

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As Man City grow heavily linked to Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, who could provide an expensive solution to Pep Guardiola’s defensive conundrum, the Senegalese stalwart’s £90 million valuation may be a heavy obstacle – but one man the Sky Blues should turn to as a half price alternative is Inter Milan colossus Milan Skriniar. 

Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis has remained stern over his lofty asking price for Koulibaly, who has recently turned 29-years-old – with City also facing competition from the likes of Liverpool to sign one of the most highly sought-after centre-backs in Europe.

Kalidou KoulibalyMilan SkriniarDayot Upamecano

Although Koulibaly is in his prime, has displayed stand-out leadership qualities and has proved to be rock solid in recent seasons, Txiki Begiristain and co would arguably be remissed if they didn’t consider Skriniar as a viable option if City fail to land their prime defensive target.

Currently valued at around £43.2 million by Transfermarkt, Skriniar could move to the Etihad for less than half of Koulibaly’s reported fee – with Guardiola’s side having recently been touted with a swoop for Skriniar by the Italian media. 

According to WhoScored, while standing at an imposing 6ft 2, the Slovakian international is four years younger than Koulibaly and has averaged a superior 92% pass success rate out from the back.

While Skriniar hasn’t managed to replicate Koulibaly’s impressive tackles and interceptions per game this season, the Inter star does beat his league rival in terms of clearances – showing that there are defensive aspects to his game which City may benefit from.

Given our need for a centre-back who can partner Aymeric Laporte and allow Fernandinho to take up his usual role in front of the back four, Skriniar could be a noteworthy option for a much lesser fee.

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