Chelsea’s primary aim this summer was to rebuild the defense following the departures of Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen, and while we may not be quite done, the arrival of Kalidou Koulibaly is a huge step forward in that regard. The 31-year-old has been one of the best center backs in the world for many years, and, at least in theory, is the type of signing that can truly improve the team.
For Koulibaly himself, it’s exciting days as well, as he revealed in his excellent first interview with Chelsea TV.
“I’m really excited to be here. I was looking forward to be with the team [and] I feel already home. [I’ve made] a big choice to come to Premier League and to play the greatest football in the in the world.
Koulibaly spent the previous eight years at Napoli, and spent the majority of those eight years being linked with and pursued by Chelsea (among others). We came close to signing him a couple times, especially in 2016 but apparently also last summer already, when Tuchel specifically targeted him.
The stars finally aligned this summer!
“After eight years I think it was the time to find a new challenge a new team and when Chelsea come I didn’t hesitate. They come already in 2016 but we didn’t make it so when they come back in 2022 my choice was already done.
“We speak together before one month ago, Jorgi texts me and tell me if i want to come to Chelsea. I say I don’t know, if they they ask for me okay I want to come but i don’t want to go propose myself. If they want to me to come I will come with pleasure. And after Édou make a small pressing, my choice was already done.
“[Tuchel] called me and he said that he want me absolutely to come to Chelsea. [When] he come to Chelsea, he direct called me and tell me if I wanted to to come. It didn’t happen before but today the day comes. I know that he’s a good man. I know that he’s a very good trainer so I’m looking forward to start to work with him.”
Of course, whether this will in fact prove to be as good of a move as it looks on paper will depend on K2’s performances on the pitch, how he fits in with the rest of the players, and the team’s results in turn.
But conditions are perfect for perfection.
“Moving from Serie A in Italy to Premier League in England is a big step and everybody is waiting for me to play to show my quality [...] I think the right moment is now. I have to show everybody that I am the player they think [...] I want to give emotion to the supporters, to give emotion to everybody who loves Chelsea, and I want to show them that I am the player they were waiting for and I want to win lot of titles with Chelsea and I’m ready to start it as soon as possible.
“On the pitch I will give the 200 percent for them, 200 for the club for the staff for everybody who’s working in the club.”
-Kalidou Koulibaly; source: Chelsea TV