Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly set to join Chelsea

Chelsea are closing in on Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly after reaching an agreement on personal terms.

Kalidou Koulibaly of SSC Napoli

The exits of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have left a huge hole in the Blues backline and head coach Thomas Tuchel wants to fix the defensive crisis by signing at least two centre-backs. Kalidou Koulibaly has emerged as a viable option for Tuchel, with a reported agreement between Chelsea and Napoli for a proposed €40 million fee not far away.

Koulibaly, 31, is entering the final year of his contract at Napoli. The Senegal international has impressed since moving to Napoli from Genk in 2014 and has gone on to rack up 317 appearances, scoring 14 goals. He managed 27 league appearances last term for Luciano Spalletti’s side which finished third in the table.

Chelsea could also reach an agreement for Nathan Ake

Chelsea have several defensive targets, as Thomas Tuchel aims to bolster that area of the pitch as a priority. One of those is Manchester City’s Nathan Ake, who will cost at least £40m.

Ake, 27, joined Manchester City from Bournemouth in 2019 but has not managed to establish himself in Pep Guardiola’s starting XI. The Dutchman, who can fill a number of positions at the back, would be happy to return to Stamford Bridge and is understood to be close to agreeing personal terms with the Blues.

Kalidou Koulibaly could be the Blues’ defensive lynchpin

Regarded as one of the best defenders in Serie A, Kalidou Koulibaly could slot into the Chelsea rearguard straight away. He is a leader and great organiser of the backline, making him a top deputy to Thiago Silva, who continues to deliver strong performances even at the ripe age of 37. However, Silva’s game time needs to be managed well from next season.

At 31, Koulibaly remains in good shape and hoping that Thomas Tuchel can get the best out of him ahead of his exit from Napoli. The Senegalese defender’s rich experience and leadership skills would make him a great asset at Stamford Bridge. He has the skill-set to become the Tuchel-managed side’s defensive lynchpin for the next three to four years.

With the negotiations at an advanced stage, it appears that the Pensioners will get the deal done this summer and see Koulibaly join them for their pre-season tour of the United States. Chelsea hope the 31-year-old can hit the ground running in the Premier League as they look to freshen up Tuchel’s squad this summer.

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