Sheffield United: Ismaila Coulibaly is told Paul Heckingbottom would "love to work" with him

Ismaila Coulibaly will be summoned back to Sheffield United this summer, after manager Paul Heckingbottom confirmed he wants to work with the midfielder.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 2:49 pm

The 21-year-old has spent the past two seasons on loan at Beerschot, United’s Belgian sister club, after being signed from Sarpsborg 08 for an undisclosed sum when his parent club reached the Premier League.

Capped by Mali at under-20 level, Coulibaly has yet to make an appearance for United in either competitive or friendly competition.

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Beerschot's Isamaila Cheikh Coulibaly and Anderlecht's Albert Sambi Lokonga fight for the ball: JOHAN EYCKENS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

But that seems set to change, with Heckingbottom saying: “In an ideal world, when the league in Belgium shuts down, I'd love to get him back in and around the building and working with him.”

Subject to meeting the criteria for a work permit, Coulibaly could be offered the chance to launch his career in England when United begin preparing for the 2022/23 campaign. Thirteenth in the table ahead of Saturday’s visit to Derby County but with four matches in hand on sixth-placed Huddersfield Town, Heckingbottom hopes that will mark United’s return to the Premier League after they were relegated from the top-flight last season.

Coulibaly has not featured for Beerschot, part of the United World network, since November’s draw with KV Kortrijk. Although he has yet to score this term, something he did on five occasions last season, the youngster has provided two assists.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Beerschot are 10 points adrift at the bottom of the Jupiler Pro League table, after winning only twice in 20 outings.

“Coulibaly is injured at the moment so we won’t be doing anything now, he’s not playing,” Heckingbottom said.