Chelsea set to beat Tottenham with Boehly ready to pay £34m for ‘fantastic’ ace
Chelsea are set to fend off interest from Tottenham Hotspur to sign Kalidou Koulibaly, with new Blues owner Todd Boehly set to hand the Napoli defender a long-term contract.
That’s according to The Athletic, who note that the Stamford Bridge side are close to reaching an agreement to sign Koulibaly. Boehly has worked tirelessly since buying the west London side from Roman Abramovich to replace Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.
Thomas Tuchel needs a new defensive leader after losing Rudiger and Christensen as free agents this summer. The German and the Dane joined La Liga at Clasico rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively after both saw their contracts on June 30.
Chelsea had a series of centre-halves on their shortlist to fill the gaping void in Tuchel’s squad, including Nathan Ake and Jules Kounde. But Koulibaly will likely be the first target to come through the door after Boehly made a €40m (£34m) bid for Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis.
The Azzurri have discussed Koulibaly’s departure as the 31-year-old is in the final year of his contract. He also listened to interest from Chelsea after they rejected a new deal at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in June, which Napoli said was worth €6m-a-year (97.5ka/w).
Chelsea set to beat Tottenham to sign Koulibaly from Napoli for £34m
Negotiations are still ongoing between Chelsea and Napoli, as well as Boehly and Koulibaly, but the 62-cap Senegalese skipper is expected to sign for Tuchel’s side. His move to west London will be a blow to Antonio Conte, who wanted the defender at Tottenham.
That’s according to Sport, who reported in late May that Conte was battling interest from Chelsea and Juventus to see Koulibaly join Tottenham. The defender was also awaiting a move to Barcelona but is now set to get a taste of the Premier League.
Koulibaly’s career so far has taken him to France with Metz and Belgium with Genk, as well as Italy. His performances in Serie A for Napoli mainly put his skills in the spotlight, with Frank Leboeuf once hailing the ‘fantastic’ enforcer as ‘one of the best defenders I’ve ever seen’.