June 13, 2024

Burnley: Coulibaly could be smart swap for Harwood-Bellis

Vincent Kompany has showed he has an eye for talent-spotting. Could Soumaila Coulibaly be the next youngster en route to Burnley?

Burnley are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to retain their Premier League status in their first season back in the top flight.

The Clarets earned promotion in style last season, going up with triple digits in terms of points, but impressive head coach Vincent Kompany is not resting on his laurels.

Kompany’s side have been linked with new players in every position since the Championship campaign came to a close last month, including in the heart of defence.

Indeed, French outlet L’Equipe reports that Burnley are in advanced talks to bring in teenage centre-back Soumaila Coulibaly from Borussia Dortmund.

Who is Soumaila Coulibaly?
The 19-year-old came through Paris Saint-Germain’s academy before making the move to Dortmund, where he spent a year in the reserve side prior to making his first-team debut last season.

Coulibaly made two appearances for BVB, both from the bench, including an 18-minute cameo in a Champions League group draw away at Copenhagen.

Despite being highly regarded at the Westfalenstadion, it is reported that Dortmund are happy to let the France U17 international find his feet elsewhere on an initial loan basis.

Where would Soumaila Coulibaly fit in at Burnley?
Coulibaly hails from Ile de France, which is the same region that Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba originate. Coulibaly may play in a different position to those two, but he will hope to rise to the very top in the same way as those global superstars.

Mbappe made his senior debut with Monaco at 16 years and 347 days, whereas Coulibaly has just a couple of appearances under his belt for Dortmund at the age of 19.

But that is not to say the Frenchman cannot make a name for himself, with this proposed move to Burnley providing a chance to do just that in the Premier League.

The £23k-per-week youngster may be young but you would not know that by looking at him, measuring as he does at 6 foot 2. Indeed, his stature and ability on the ball has earned him comparisons with Bayern Munich defender Dayot Upamecano.

The youngster previously revealed he looks up to Presnel Kimpembe, whom he worked with at PSG, given they are both left-footed centre-backs. For that reason, Coulibaly would be a perfect replacement for Taylor Harwood-Bellis at Burnley.

Harwood-Bellis started 31 of Burnley’s 46 Championship matches last season, but he has now returned to parent club Manchester City. Jordan Beyer’s loan from Borussia Monchengladbach has been made permanent, however, making him a natural partner for Coulibaly in a back four.

Coulibaly may only have played a couple of games at senior level, but it is clear to see he is a defender who has an eye for a pass. Indeed, his 12.9 progressive passes per 90 minutes last season – completed passes of at least ten yards, as per FBref – is more than any Burnley player managed.

For comparison, Harwood-Bellis registered 5.77 per 90 minutes last term. Coulibaly also completed 96.7% of his passes, which was better than that of Harwood-Bellis’ 85% success rate.

It must be factored in that Coulibaly’s figures are over a far smaller sample period, and it remains to be seen if he can have the same impact as Harwood-Bellis – let alone a career even half as special as compatriot Mbappe.

But the initial signs are promising, and Kompany has shown during his time as Burnley boss that he knows a talent when he sees one.

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