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Chelsea meet Napoli's latest asking price on Koulibaly; Napoli refuse anyway

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Like Lando Calrissian's "deal" with Darth Vader, Chelsea's "deal" with Napoli just keeps getting worse.  At first, the Partenopei wanted €30m for Koulibaly.  Then €40.  Then €50.  Chelsea have met them each time, and every time, they rejected us anyway.  Here's the latest, according to Gazzetta dello Sport's Carlo Laudisa.

While Laudisa claims that this latest refusal is due in part to Napoli's inability to secure a replacement in Torino's Nikola Maksimović, I think it's just as likely that Napoli are just stringing us along because their owner and president, Aurelio Di Laurentiis is basically a Bond villain.  Or Darth Vader, if we're following the earlier analogy.

So, third verse same as the second, same as the first.  Kalidou Koulibaly, all six foot five inches of him could very well be staying in Naples, probably with an improved contract at some point soon.  For Chelsea, it's back to the drawing board, or back to trying to convince Benfica's Lindelof or beating out Arsenal for Valencia's Mustafi or ... who knows.

I'm still hopeful of Chelsea managing to swing a proper defensive signing, but it's starting to look a bit desperate.  Earlier in the summer, Antonio Conte talked about making sure we spend only on the "right" players — such players aren't exactly in abundance, so we might just have to make do with what we've got...