That didn’t come as a surprise Chelsea wanted to sign a new defender this summer due to a lack of opportunities Thomas Tuchel. As was usual in Todd Boehly’s early days, they have been quick to recruit.
Stamford Bridge Club has has sealed a change for Napoli star Kalidou Koulibalyin a deal worth £34million.
Koulibaly has a stellar reputation and has in the past been linked with other top clubs in England and Chelsea fans are now wondering what he will bring.
Chelsea have signed Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly for £34m to bolster their defence
His stats from last season show that Chelsea have produced an impressive presence both on the ground and in the air – and they may not be done there when it comes to defensive reinforcements either.
With Nathan Ake opting to stay at Manchester City, Chelsea are reportedly going to revive their interest in Sevilla star Jules Kounde.
With Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen already leaving on free transfers, it was essential for the Blues to bring in a handful of new faces in defence.
Tuchel was left shortly after their departures, although his ranks will be strengthened soon enough.
The centre-back played in Italy last season sports mail looked at his stats
Cesar Azpilicueta, set to join Barcelona for £7million, has been told he cannot leave Stamford Bridge until the defensive reinforcements are signed. If he were to leave, Chelsea would start the new season with a very different looking defence.
Koulibaly will undoubtedly be at the heart of this project alongside seasoned veteran Thiago Silva. He was always present for Napoli when he was fit last season and possesses far more experience than those who would try to match his position.
First, we’ll look at how his numbers compare to the club’s current options – namely Silva, Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr. The latter two players earned less playing time last year, so keep in mind that this will affect the results.
In terms of appearances, Koulibaly made 34 in all competitions, less than Silva’s 48 but more than Chalobah’s and Sarr’s 30 and 21, respectively. Interestingly, he was also a starting XI in each of those games, underscoring his importance to the Serie A team.
|All club competitions 21/22||Koulibaly||Silva||Chaloba||Sarr|
|minutes per goal||94.9||110.6||172.8||94.9|
|Tackle Success (%)||56.6||69.6||71.2||57.7|
|Air duels won||58||96||58||36|
|Flight success (%)||53||72||59||71|
|Dribbled past by the opponent||17||13||12||12|
|Statistics provided by Opta|
In the games in which he appeared, Napoli conceded 32 goals, four fewer than the 36 Chelsea scored with Silva at his side. Again, the difference in games played comes into play, but the fact that Koulibaly conceded less than a goal in each game is notable.
Chalobah and Sarr conceded 13 and 16, perhaps due to their limited minutes.
In tackles, Koulibaly leads with 53. He is trailed by Chalobah at 52, Silva at 46 and Sarr at 26. The winner’s tackle success percentage is a respectable 56.6 but is dwarfed by Silva’s 69.6 and Chalobah’s 71.2.
As shown above, the Blues’ new signing is also strong in the air and is no stranger to throwing blocks and interceptions. In both areas, however, he was beaten by Silva, whose numbers were excellent last season.
Another important aspect of the style of play under Tuchel is ball security and decision-making security. This is, quite simply, about when a player opts for a shorter option to build from the back, or instead opts to smash them in the bottom field.
Thiago Silva has outperformed his future teammate in several metrics despite his advanced age
Koulibaly recorded 106 clearances last season, Silva 131. For passing, the former scored 2088, a number well below the latter’s 3702. As a disclaimer, this metric is heavily driven by how each of the teams uses the ball.
Finally, Koulibaly’s passing accuracy percentage is 87, while Silva’s is 92.7. Chalobah and Sarr’s aggregate scores are 89.8 and 88.7, clearly showing that the defender ready to don the club’s famous jersey must remain composed.
In summary for the first table, the results show that Koulibaly is well placed to set himself up well for the rigors of the Premier League, even if Silva often trumps him.
Convenient, for further context, sports mail also compared Koulibaly to the best of the rest; the standout defenders of the other Big Six clubs in the top flight.
Ruben Dias is one of the best defenders in the Premier League and will face Koulibaly
For this we have chosen Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip from Liverpool, Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte from Manchester City, Gabriel Magalhaes from Arsenal, Cristian Romero from Tottenham and Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane from Manchester United.
Again, the number of minutes played by each of the above names must be taken into account, with Van Dijk in particular having always been a presence for his club last season.
This also skews the minutes-per-goal metric, but there are still plenty of notable results. As explained above, Koulibaly has an average of 94.9 minutes between goals, a game-wide average, and ranks high in the table below.
He’s better by Van Dijk’s 140 minutes, while Laporte (113), Matip (123.5) and Dias (99.7) also top his effort. However, Manchester City and Liverpool tend to attack more than defend, while Napoli have usually come under more pressure over the past year.
|All club competitions 21/22||Koulibaly||Van Dijk||Laporte||Matip||slides||Magalhaes||Maguire||Romero||Early|
|minutes per goal||94.9||140||113.8||123.5||99.7||83.7||63.4||77.3||81.4|
|Tackle Success (%)||56.6||58.3||52.1||72.9||57.9||61.5||63.6||59.3||63.6|
|Air duels won||58||185||69||140||61||57||94||61||74|
|Flight success (%)||53||78||63||71||56||58||72||63||76|
|Dribbled past by the opponent||17||5||8th||13||10||11||12||14||13|
|Statistics provided by Opta|
In the zero column, Koulibalys 12 is again in midfield. Van Dijk has 28, while Matip at 19, Laporte at 17 and Dias at 13 have them ahead of them. However, Chelsea’s new man easily beats the remaining four contenders.
Koulibaly’s 53 tackles last season are the second-highest on the table, behind the pugnacious Matip’s 59. Again, this could be influenced by the way Napoli have set up their stable, but it’s a feat that will surely please Tuchel.
It should be noted, however, that Koulibaly’s tackling success rate is the second lowest at 56.6 percent – everyone except Laporte has beaten their number over the last year.
While Koulibaly’s record of winning headers isn’t one for his new manager to sneer at, his tally is surpassed by several of his top-flight rivals. Van Dijk won 185 in the air and Matip finished with 140, both numbers topping 58.
Virgil van Dijk has the best numbers of the last year but Koulibaly’s stats are impressive
A look at the blocks and interceptions columns shows that Koulibaly has a lot to offer his new team in both areas. He comes second in the first category and fourth in the second – again suggesting he has an all-around game in his arsenal.
An area for improvement is dribbled past by an opponent. That’s what happened to Koulibaly 17 times last season, roughly every two games, and while that doesn’t sound bad, others have held their ground more firmly in the Premier League.
For comparison, Van Dijk was only dribbled over five times, with the second-highest total behind Koulibaly coming from Romero’s 13. Much vilified by United supporters for his mobility, Maguire has been fooled 12 times.
After all, there are no major concerns in the passage department. As explained above, Koulibaly has shown he is adept at possession as required in the modern top flight era and his numbers sit well with his peers.