Barcelona set to compete with Chelsea for defender’s signature
Both Chelsea and Barcelona will be in the market for a new defender in the transfer window, and according to reports they are both looking at Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly as a main target.
The 26 year-old has played a key role in the Italian side’s success so far this season, and has attracted interest from a number of top clubs as a result.
According to Transfermarketweb, Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis rejected bids of £45m and £52m for Koulibaly, and wants closer to £63m for his star defender.
Chelsea signed Antonio Rudiger to replace departing captain John Terry in the summer, but their under-par start to the season could force Antonio Conte to seek defensive reinforcements. Leonardo Bonucci’s name has also been mentioned.
The Blues have not kept a clean sheet in their last six matches, which is surprising given that their Premier League win last season was built on the strength of their backline.
Senegalese international Koulibaly has played every minute of Napoli’s Serie A campaign so far this season. They are top of the league they stand with 28 points from 30.
Conte knows the Italian market well, and by all accounts the 6 foot 5 centre-back would be well suited to English football.
However, there is also interest from La Liga and namely Barcelona. The Blaugrana can’t rely on the injury prone Thomas Vermaelen and want somebody to provide competition to Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti.
Koulibaly fits the bill, but whether they can compete with Chelsea’s money remains to be seen. He has a contract at the San Paolo until 2021.
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