Diego Costa, the controversial attacker at Chelsea, gave Antonio Conte his first ever Premier League victory with a stunning last minute goal against West Ham United in the first game of the new season for both clubs. The former Italian boss has done a great job with the Chelsea squad as he was able to keep the core of the title-winning side from and added a couple of quality players to his squad in Michy Batshuayi from Marseille and N’Golo Kanté from Leicester City.
The manager is a bit short of options in defence, however, with the likes of Gary Cahill and club captain John Terry, the only two central senior central defenders that are available for selection. Though the club has a couple of youngsters who can fill in the void, Chelsea need a decent addition at centre-back going into the next season.
This has seen the manager scout for a number of centre-backs from Europe to bring to the Bridge this summer. However, it is now understood that Chelsea are ready to make an astounding bid for their top transfer target in Kalidou Koulibaly to lure him to the Bridge from Napoli. The English outfit made a reported bid for around £40m in hope to get their man but it was revealed that Napoli are not ready to let their man leave for anything less than their valuation. And it is now understood that Chelsea are plotting a club-record deal of £60m to land the 25-year old this summer.
Though it looks like a hefty price to pay for a centre-half, the desperation that has set in at the Bridge, due to the lack of suitable options in the transfer window, gives the price tag some sense. Chelsea have been tracking the Senegalese international since the start of the transfer window and Antonio Conte is quite certain that he is the man to lead his side at the back in the new season.
Coming into the frame as one of the best passers of the ball in his position, Koulibaly is a versatile central defender who can also play as a right-back and also a defensive midfielder if required. He played 81 games for Napoli in his two years at the club and has established himself as one of the best defenders in Europe at the moment. He loves to have the ball at his feet, more than what a center half needs to, but is so comfortable in possession that he allows his team to build attacks right from the scratch. But obviously, his biggest strength is his defending.
He is a great reader of the game and is a strong centre-half who is not afraid to put his body around in dangerous areas. Though he commits a bit too many fouls for a manager’s liking, he is an asset to any of the top European clubs.
At Chelsea, he will be expected to fill in John Terry’s place, who, at his age, may not be playing every game in the league. Conte is a believer of the 3-5-2 formation with a 3 man defense and Koulibaly will be a perfect fit in this system playing as the right or the left-sided defender, giving himself a chance to play in his own style (in the future).
Conte has done his homework and has identified possibly the best defender in Europe that suits his style of play and though he is having to spend record amounts of money on Koulibaly, there is every chance that the 25-year old turns out to be an impact player next season. The crazy amounts of money that is being spent in the transfer window in England has made a £60m price tag look normal and if Conte believes that Koulibaly is the long-term replacement for John Terry, he should spend the money when the player is available, rather than trying to lure him out when he is settled. Do you think Chelsea should spend big money on Kalidou Koulibaly this summer?