Chelsea have reportedly been handed a major boost in their pursuit of Faouzi Ghoulam with the Algerian left-back stalling on a new contract with Napoli.
Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport (h/t Calciomercato) have reported that Chelsea have received a “new hope” in their chase to sign Faouzi Ghoulam, with the Algeria international stalling on a new deal with Napoli.
Faouzi Ghoulam is a defender with a growing reputation, and his stock has been consistently rising ever since he joined Napoli from Saint-Etienne in 2014. Signed for a fee of €5 million, the Algeria international has established himself as one of the most highly regarded young left-backs in Europe.
Ghoulam has made an impression with his versatility, with the 26-year-old being equally adept at playing as a left midfielder, a left winger as well as a left wing back. Alongside that, his forays down the left flank make him an additional attacking outlet for his side while being a key figure in defence.
In the three years since moving to Naples, Ghoulam has played 121 matches for Napoli, and has claimed 17 assists. And this season, he has made a mark in attack yet again, assisting 7 goals in 23 appearances in all competitions, and has played a key role with Napoli contesting for the Serie A title.
The 26-year-old recently rejoined the club having represented Algeria at the Africa Cup on Nations last month, and it was widely believed that he was ready to pen to paper on a new deal with Napoli but revelations from the report in Corriere dello Sport have claimed that Ghoulam is stalling on a new deal.
This has handed Premier League leaders Chelsea a major boost, with Antonio Conte interested in bringing in defensive reinforcements in the summer. The Blues boss is interested in signing a left sided defender, with the Italian having just Marcos Alonso and Nathan Ake to choose from to fill the left wing back slot.
Ghoulam’s versatility allows him to fit seamlessly as a left wing back as well as in a back three, which makes him an viable option for Conte to consider to add to his Chelsea squad. However, Chelsea could be primed for a battle to land Ghoulam, with the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and PSG linked with the Algerian in recent months.
For now, Chelsea are in the lead to sign Ghoulam, and the report adds that the Premier League leaders are ready to shell out £30 million to land their target man in the summer. It now remains to be seen if the Blues indeed can sign the defender, or whether any of the aforementioned clubs steal a march on them.