Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed that Chelsea made bids rising up to €58 million in the summer for star defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
The Blues’ protracted pursuit of the Senegalese centre-back culminated in him signing a new long-term contract with Napoli. The buy-out clause for the 25-year-old has been set at a whopping €70 million.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has now confirmed that Chelsea came close to that amount this past summer. The 67-year-old revealed that Antonio Conte’s side made three bids for Koulibaly rising up to €58 million.
“In the last few days of the transfer market, I refused an offer worth €58 million for Koulibaly,” the Napoli club president told reporters, according to Goal.
“Conte will say that it is not true, but he offered 30, then 40 and then €58 million. But I had already made the decision for myself that he would stay put for another year. We can talk again next year…”
Koulibaly was the main priority for Antonio Conte and Chelsea this past summer, but they were thwarted in their efforts by Napoli. This led to some panicked activity in the transfer market by the Blues as they went all out to sign a defender before the transfer window closed.
Chelsea attempted to sign a number of Serie A centre-backs throughout the summer, reportedly approaching AC Milan for Alessio Romagnoli, while the likes of Roma’s Antonio Rudiger and Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci were also heavily linked with the Premier League giants.
The Blues ended up signing their former player David Luiz on a much criticised deadline day transfer worth £30 million. The early signs would not have reassured Antonio Conte that his club made the right decision — Chelsea have five goals in the three Premier League games since his arrival.
Laurentiis has left the door open for a possible deal for Koulibaly in the future, but it remains to be seen if Chelsea are willing to splash €70 million for their long-time transfer target.