Chelsea seem to be making big efforts to find and acquire the right name for a much needed defensive upgrade, but unlike the signings of N'Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi, our progress has been less than stellar. Names are dropping off the shortlist left and right, and while backup candidates do seem to exist (De Vrij, Lindelof), it's unlikely that they are the "right players" for the right position, as head coach Antonio Conte is fond of saying.
One of the right names is Kalidou Koulibaly, the French-born Senegalese centre back of Serie A runners-up Napoli. Rumors over the last couple months had us believing that the 25-year-old was on his way out, but last weekend, a report from Gianluca Di Marzio claimed that the defender would instead stay at Stadio San Paolo after reconciling with club chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis.
With the prospect of contract negotiations on the horizon, Koulibaly's agent Bruno Satin isn't giving in that easily.
"I was in Dimaro on Saturday and we discussed a contract renewal however, we are not at the point of reaching an agreement. The desire of the player is to leave the club, not renew."
"We are told by the club that he is a great player but from the renewal on offer, we don't see this. Last year they wanted to sell him stating he was not focused enough but then last season he has shown all his quality. To the fans I say stay calm because he won't be joining Juventus, Chelsea and Everton are still interested as they are both searching for a central defender of his quality."
-Bruno Satin; source: Radio Crc via Calcio Mercato
Although it's certainly good news that Napoli low-balled Koulibaly and the player's now threatening to leave again, this is most likely just another step in the agent-club dance. With Napoli set to receive €94 million from the transfer of Gonzalo Higuaín to Juventus, they certainly have the funds to pay Koulibaly. Conversely, convincing De Laurentiis to accept a reasonable fee for the defender will be harder than ever.