The Kalidou Koulibaly saga dominated the airwaves this summer as Chelsea tried desperately to upgrade the defense. The big defender got our hopes at the start of June, when he revealed his apparent unhappiness with his contract situation in Napoli.
"My situation? I have three years on my contract. I was very happy at the time when I signed a five year deal but now I had a great season and I have many offers on the table. I want to make right decision from financial and sporting stand point. Many great clubs want me and I have no news from Napoli. I get the impression I may leave. I want to keep growing perhaps by going abroad. Have I spoken to Conte? No but it could happen, if Napoli doesn't contact me I will start talking to other clubs."
-Kalidou Koulibaly; source: L'Equipe via Gianluca Di Marzio
Such insolence did not sit well with Napoli's owner, Aurelio De Laurentiis, and he quickly responded a few days later by reminding Koulibaly of his place in the hierarchy, threatening fines for his actions, as well as having to pay reparations for lost revenue from sponsors for this sullying episode.
"The player has 3 more years left on his contract and will not move from here, and will pay a hefty fine. I'm not angry so much with him, but I amazed because I think the guy is above average."
"I did not think that he betrayed the contract on image rights. I had calls from twenty sponsors who were signing with us and have pulled back because the image Koulibaly has put out, and lost credibility. All of this will fall on the player, poor fellow. He probably will have to pay a few million euros to Napoli in the coming years."
-Aurelio De Laurentiis; source: Sky via Sport Witness
Surely, there was no going back from this point. At least not easily. And even as Napoli repeatedly increased their asking price, by roughly €10m increments from €20m all the way to €60m, this always seemed like a matter of Chelsea paying enough money to satisfy ADL's latest power trip.
But, as it turns out, Koulibaly may have had a change of heart as well. Or at least realized his place in the hierachy and was told to have a change of heart.
"I decided to stay because I feel good in this team. I know that when I decide to leave, I will do it without problems. A 30 thousand fine for my statements? They were written many things, but it is not true. I have a good relationship with the management of the Napoli."
-Kalidou Koulibaly; source: Il Mattino via Google Translate
Poor fellow; he's been institutionalized.