Chelsea FC is ready to meet the £30 million price tag set by Napoli for their star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, if reports from the British media are to be believed.
The Blues have been pursuing Koulibaly’s signature all summer after the Senegal international had an amazing season at Naples, helping the Partenopei finish second in the Serie A. Koulibaly’s performance last season has drawn the attention of a number of top clubs with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United also showing interest in the Serie A star.
While Napoli has been trying to keep their star defender, Koulibaly himself has been pushing for an improved deal from the Partenopei. However, he admitted last month that the contract negotiations with Napoli have “stalled”, and that he may start talking to representatives from Chelsea in order to initiate a transfer away from Italy.
“The negotiations for a contract extension have stalled and they never wanted to discuss with us,” Koulibaly had said last month.
“No, I have not talked to [Antonio Conte] but that may be soon. If nothing happens at Napoli, I will start to have contact with other clubs. The game in England could be suitable for me but I like Italy, I do not press for a transfer but I hope to sign a renewal with Napoli or we proceed to other solutions,” he added.
Koulibaly however seems to be closing in on a move away from Napoli, as a report in English newspaper the Daily Mirror claims that Chelsea are close to signing him from Napoli for £30 million.
Is Koulibaly a liability?
The biggest concern surrounding the signing of Koulibaly after a great season at Napoli is whether the Senegal international would turn out to be a one-season-wonder.
Koulibaly has had a brilliant season at Napoli, putting in 2.4 tackles and making 2.7 interceptions in all competitions during the 2015/16 season. However, the 25-year-old’s career was not moving at such a fast pace during his early days at Genk. Even a £6.5 million switch to Napoli [via Transfermarkt] did not really help his cause. It was only after talismanic manager Maurizio Sarri took over at Napoli last season, that Koulibaly’s career really took off.
Signing Koulibaly after just one good season might turn out to be a bit of a risk for Chelsea, as the 25-year-old could turn out to be a one-season-wonder. To add to that, Koulibaly could be a liability for any defence as he is a bit rash with his tackles. The Napoli man was shown a staggering 11 yellow cards last season, as compared to Branislav Ivanovic’s five and Gary Cahill’s two, while Kurt Zouma did not pick up a single booking in the Premier League last season.