Little more than twelve months ago, Sheffield United signed an unknown midfielder from a Norwegian club. Due to work permit regulations, the Blades were unable to put him into the first-team squad and had to send him out to Belgian club Beershot to gain experience and enough points to play in the United Kingdom. The player in question is Ismaila Coulibaly.
The 20-year-old Mali international was signed in September 2020, from Norwegian club Saprsborg 08, and immediately loaned out for three seasons to Belgian club K Beershot AC, whom the Blades have, links with via owner Prince Abdullah.
Coulibaly was a hit in Belgium, scored two goals in his opening two games against KAA Gent, and Sint-Truiden, however, goals didn’t consistently flow and finished the season with five goals to his name – not too bad for a central midfielder, who mostly played as a defensive midfielder, but can also play in an attacking position further up the field.
He has since been linked with exotic moves away from the Blades with Italian giants AC Milan, and Turkish side Galatasaray. Does the big question remain whether the Blades should cash in on the player, or return him to the Lane and include him in next season squad?
According to whoscored.com, Coulibaly played 1638 minutes of football last season in 17 starts (and 5 substitute appearances), averaging 74 minutes per game. For 16 of the games started he was used as a central midfielder and as a defensive-midfielder for the other fixture. However, he returned zero assists from midfield.
Unofficial vloggers, The Sheff United Way, recently posted a new vlog about Coulibaly, and some insight into his return to Bramall Lane;
⚽️Everything you need to know about the Mali U20 international
▪️Where does he play?
▪️What are his key attributes?
▪️Why have Sheffield United rejected offers of over £12m?
▪️How long before he's in the Blades first team?
— Sheff United Way (@SheffUnitedWay) June 11, 2021
There is certainly a BIG question mark on the head of Coulibaly, can he make it at Sheffield United? That, I do not know. There is a difference between applying your football in Belgium than in England, the quality and speed of the game are different. Some supporters believe that the Blades should cash in on their asset before he has even kicked a ball in Blades colours. I would like to see the midfielder recalled, and give him through the summer to train with the first time. United can then either loan him out to a Football League club or asses him until January and loan him back to Beershot for the remainder of the season.
United could have a promising player on their books and we should let loose of our assets so easily as they have done in the past!