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Napoli center back Kalidou Koulibaly concedes defeat in Chelsea saga — report

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SSC Napoli v PAOK - Preseason Friendly Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

According to ESPN’s sources, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly "has given up hope" on becoming a Chelsea player this summer. The 25-year-old had been the club's primary defensive transfer target this summer.

Chelsea have been willing to go as high as £50 million for Koulibaly, but Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis, after raising his asking price repeatedly, had settled on wanting nothing less than £60 million. With the Blues refusing to meet De Laurentiis' latest outrageous evaluation, the Senegalese international will have to stay put in Italy. At some point, he might even get a new contract, demands for which kicked off this whole saga back in the spring.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are reportedly close to signing Fiorentina defender Marcos Alonso, a left back who can also play as centre back if needed. And, in the ultimate solution, a new center back could possibly be acquired via a loan as well.

The writing’s been on the wall with K2 for a while, even as Napoli were making other moves in the background. Ultimately, as unfortunate it is that we were not able to convince De Laurentiis to let go of Koulibaly for anything close to resembling a fair price, you can’t buy something that’s not for sale.