Chelsea have been embroiled in a summer-long pursuit of Kalidou Koulibaly after they had seemingly wrapped up the £30m deal in May. Antonio Conte has prioritised central defence as an area which needed strengthening after the inconsistent displays from the defenders available presently at the club. Koulibaly started off his career with Metz before moving onto Racing Genk and then Napoli, to whom he is currently contracted to.
The French-born who chose to play for the Senegal National Team has reportedly fallen out with his club Napoli after they initially refused to let him go and ensuing contract talks also hit a dead end which resulted in the defender deciding to call it quits in Napoli. Furthermore, his agent has finally revealed there is no way back at the club after a meeting with the president and he has also stated the defender would not join a rival club after the backlash from Higuain’s Juventus move. He has further added that Chelsea remain interested in a move and there is sufficient time to close a deal.
Chelsea’s summer activity has mainly been the acquisition of Michy Batshuayi up top and N’Golo Kante in the midfield. But central defence is an area which is equally important with the current malaise Chelsea are facing.
Koulibaly is highly rated by the Chelsea boss and it is suggested he wants to build his defence around the 25-year old. Kalidou is known as a versatile player who can operate as a defender and also in defensive midfield, screening the back line. His passing accuracy is top-notch at 87% with an average pass distance of 21m in the 2014-15 season which illustrates his proficiency. He has also been involved in an average of 9 successful defensive actions per game.
He had a big part to play in Napoli’s meteoric rise to the number 2 spot last season and will be sorely missed by the Serie A outfit whose desperation to keep him showcased his importance to them. Gary Cahill’s inconsistent form and Kurt Zouma’s inexperience and raw nature makes Koulibaly a perfect fit for this Chelsea side with his best years still ahead of him.
Chelsea have faced obstacles in resolving his Image rights issue which has resulted in the negotiations being prolonged for such a long period of time. Though there were initial reports of Arsenal and a couple of other clubs in the fray, Chelsea have stolen a march on their rivals and the fans would hope the deal is wrapped up soon without any further glitches and after the revelations from his agent this saga looks to have a happy ending in store for the Blues.