Koulibaly would give Chelsea the foundation for a top four return under Sarri

Senegal had to wait for their chance to make an impression on World Cup 2018 but when they were finally handed their opportunity on Tuesday, they grabbed it with both hands.

A robust defensive performance was accompanied by some good fortune in attack as Senegal turned Group H on its head with a 2-1 victory over Poland and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly was among the star performers.

The powerhouse defender is valued at £54m by Transfermarkt and marshalled the defence expertly to show why, if he linked up with former manager Maurizio Sarri again at Stamford Bridge this summer, he could engineer a return to the top four.

The attack spearheaded by Robert Lewandowski – who is reportedly a Chelsea transfer target – was blunted until the closing stages, thanks in no small part to Koulibaly’s strong performance as he showed what he is capable of on the world stage.

He dealt with one of the world’s best strikers with relative ease and if Sarri can twist his arm to get him to come to Stamford Bridge, it could turn around fortunes in West London.