Chelsea close to agreeing deal to sign £34m Koulibaly
Chelsea are in talks to sign Kalidou Koulibaly and a £34m [€40m] deal with Napoli is thought to be close, according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein.
Thomas Tuchel is in the market for defensive reinforcements this summer after losing Andreas Christensen to Barcelona while Antonio Rudiger has also left for Real Madrid.
The Blues have been linked with Matthijs De Ligt but the Dutchman appears to be heading to Bayern Munich, so Tuchel has now turned his attention to landing Koulibaly instead.
Ornstien claims that Chelsea are now locked in talks with Napoli and are close to agreeing a deal worth £33m [€40m], with Koulibaly expected to sign a long-term contract at Stamford Bridge.
The 31-year-old has just one year remaining on his contract and is no closer to signing an extension, so Napoli know they need to cash-in now rather than risk losing him in 12 months time.
Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio also claims that Chelsea are in talks with Koulibaly’s agent, Fali Ramadani, after formalising their interest in the Senegal international.
The report suggests that Juventus are also eyeing Koulibaly as a replacement for De Ligt but Ornstein suggests that a deal with Chelsea is now close so it appears the centre-back could be heading to the Premier League.
Thomas Tuchel is looking to rebuild his defence. As well as Christensen and Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso could also be heading for the exit door so Chelsea need to bring in several defenders.
Chelsea’s interest in Jules Kounde has also cooled with the player preferring a move to Barcelona. Bayern are getting close to De Ligt, so it looks like they’ve turned their attention to Koulibaly and he could be the kind of profile that Tuchel requires in his ranks.
The Senegalese defender is strong physically and deceptively agile. He likes to play short passes and rarely commits mistakes when defending inside the penalty area. Standing tall at 1.95 meters, Koulibaly could be the inch-perfect replacement for Rudiger at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues should do everything possible to get him. It is rare to find an experienced defender who is both quick and physical. Under Tuchel, the 31-year-old is bound to flourish.
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