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How Manchester United could line up with Kalidou Koulibaly

With Kalidou Koulibaly being linked with a summer move to Manchester United, Sports Mole predicts where the Senegalese could feature in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's plans.

Manchester United have long been linked with a move for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, only to be put off by the Senegal international's asking price.

However, earlier this week, it was suggested that United were willing to pay in the region of £64m to secure a deal for the centre-back in the summer.

While much could change during the second half of the campaign, many United supporters would deem the signing as value for money, especially when a portion of the financial outlay could be offset by a sale.

The arrival of Koulibaly would also ease the strain on Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire, who have spent much of the season occupying the two positions in the middle of the backline.

That said, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be provided with the opportunity to become more versatile should the 28-year-old make the switch to Old Trafford.

Here, Sports Mole predicts how United could line up if they are able to secure the services of Koulibaly.



MNUXI with Kalidou Koulibaly

While Solskjaer has tended to go with a back four during his 13 months in the United dugout, that could change if he pulls off the acquisition of a player who is regarded as African's best centre-back.

With Lindelof comfortable playing on the right and Maguire having proven in the past that he can feature on the left-hand side of a back three, we think that Solskjaer would prefer to use the trio in the same team.

That would allow Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams, both full of energy and effective going forward, to be deployed as wing-backs, rather than a more restrictive full-back role.

Given Solskjaer's counter-attacking style, the downside would be that just two players would feature in the middle of the pitch to allow United to play with two wingers.

Although Scott McTominay would be an obvious pick, Bruno Fernandes - should he complete his transfer from Sporting Lisbon this month - may have to take on more defensive responsibility than he would perhaps have liked.

One alternative would be to use the Portuguese playmaker on the right flank instead of Daniel James, leaving Fred or Paul Pogba to partner McTominay.

Despite the preference being for Marcus Rashford to be used on the flank and Anthony Martial down the middle, the pair could form a front two, with Fernandes being used as the most advanced of a midfield three.

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Kalidou Koulibaly in action for Napoli on October 2, 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool26251061154676
2Manchester CityMan City25163665293651
3Leicester CityLeicester26155654262850
4Chelsea2512584334941
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs2611784334940
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2610972824439
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2681263532336
8Everton26106103438-436
9Manchester UnitedMan Utd259883629735
10Arsenal2671363634234
11Burnley26104123039-934
12Southampton2694133248-1631
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2687112440-1631
14Crystal Palace2679102332-930
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2669113138-727
16Bournemouth2675142640-1426
17Aston Villa2674153450-1625
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2566133043-1324
19Watford2659122440-1624
20Norwich CityNorwich2646162448-2418

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