Napoli is close to completing their first signing of 2019, with Genoa’s Christian Kouamé nearing a move to Naples. According to Corriere dello Sport, the deal is worth €25 million ($28.6 million) and Kouamé will remain with the Grifone for the remainder of the season.
With details set to be ironed out this week, let’s take a more in-depth look at the young Ivorian striker.
Who is Christian Kouamé?
Christian Michael Kouamé Kouakou was born on December 6th, 1997, in the urban center of the Ivory Coast, Abidjan. Kouamé moved to Italy at a young age, joining the youth academy at A.C. Prato. During his three years at Prato, the young attacking starlet bounced around youth academies in Italy, joining clubs like Sassuolo and Inter in the early stages of his career.
Prior to joining Genoa at the beginning of the 2018/19 season, the 21-year-old spent two years plying his trade in Serie B with Citadella. His first season with Citta was somewhat of a disappointing one seeing as he only contributed four goals across 15 matches, but 11 goals and 11 assists in his sophomore season in Serie B were enough to earn him a shot at playing in the top flight of Italian football.
Kouamé has continued to showcase his talents even at the highest level, putting himself on multiple clubs’ radars. Luckily for us, Napoli is the club closest to securing his signature.
Where does he play?
Kouamé plays primarily as a center-forward in a two-striker system. At Genoa, he is often partnered with Krzysztof Piatek to act as a supporting player for the Polish international. This same role can be implemented at Napoli with Arkadiusz Milik. Milik is a player that needs those around him to perform at the highest level. With Kouamé, Milik will have the support he needs, while also having a partner to share scoring duties with.
Let’s hope that Kouamé can work his magic with another Polish striker!
What does he offer Napoli?
- Depth – Kouamé joins an already dangerous attacking lineup, with Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, etc., on hand for the young attacker to learn from.
- Athleticism – Standing at 6’ tall, Kouamé adds to the aerial threat that Milik already provides Napoli. The Partenopei witnessed Kouamé’s aerial threat first hand whenever the 21-year-old scored against us in our 2-1 win back in November. In addition to height, Kouamé combines strength and speed to become a defender’s worst nightmare.
- Creativity – Christian Kouamé is the perfect secondary striker. Kouamé’s game often sees him check back to receive the ball often and do one of two things: hold it to allow for the rest of the team to push forward or look for an outlet pass. The young Ivorian is always looking for his teammates, a welcome trait seeing as Milik performs best when the service is there for him.
All things considered, this is a great move for Napoli. Kouamé being loaned back to Genoa will allow for him to continue to improve his game before joining the Partenopei this summer. €25 million is a bit steep for such a young, inexperienced (in Serie A) player, but it’s a price that is sure to seem like a steal in the near future.
By Massimo Nuzzo