Marash Kumbulla may not yet be a household name but tons of Europe’s elite are already monitoring the 20-year-old.
The centre-back has impressed for Verona this year with I Gialloblu, astonishingly, sitting in eighth place in Serie A. Only three groups, the top three in the league, have conceded fewer goals than Ivan Jurić’s side (26), along with the Italian-born Albania international has played a key role in that record.
According to reports, Verona expect to get rid of the 20-year-old once the transfer window opens. A fee in the region of €25million is thought to have to convince the Serie A side to part ways with the 20-year-old.
Reports from Italy assert San Siro is probably where he will play his football next year. But, Antonio Conte’s men can not compete financially with some of the other interested clubs that could be a clinching element.
Statistically, he profiles nicely.
Concerning floor duels, he wins 56 percent per 90. Aerially, he is even better, winning 65 percent of the 4.68 duels he competitions. He is not, however, heavily involved in drama, averaging a bit over 50 touches (per 90).
However, of these 52 touches, 76 percent are passes. Kumbulla is quite proactive when in possession, often seeking to keep play moving. His on-ball is skill is one of his most important strengths and Kumbulla finds a team-mate with 84.2 percent of his tried passes.
In isolation, it may not look like much given some centre-backs boast a whopping 90 percent completion rate. Unlike those gamers, the Verona guy is a risk-taker and this is evident when looking at the ratio of moves he performs forward — almost 45 percent.
If you think about the top centre-backs in the world today, not only are they dominant defensively, they also influence the attacking side of this game. Virgil Van Dijk’so long, raking moves out of his own defensive third are a staple of how Liverpool attack nowadays.
After Chelsea won the league under Conte, David Luiz’s ability on the ball was crucial to their victory while Pep Guardiola went about incorporating capable and confident ball-players to his defence after taking over at Manchester City.
Using a centre-back who can select a pass is no longer only a luxury for groups, it’s a necessity.
Despite his inexperience, he takes the lead and orders play.
Moreover, Lazio is among the strongest sides in Serie A. They are averaging 2.4 goals per 90 in the league this year yet Verona, with Kumbulla starring as a centre-back, held them to a 0-0 draw.
He moves the eye test and ticks the boxes mathematically.
Kumbulla is by no means a deal but given the market for centre-backs is rising with each passing transfer window, getting one with his possible, at that cost, is wise business.