According to reports in Italy, as relayed by Calcio Mercato, Chelsea are inching closer to a move for Napoli left back Faouzi Ghoulam. We’ve sort of heard about this before, but apparently Napoli are now planning for a future without the 25-year-old and are actively looking for a replacement.
Currently representing the Algerian national team at the Africa Cup of Nations (UPDATE: Algeria are out in the group stages), Ghoulam has been a solid presence at Stadio San Paolo since his arrival in January 2014. However, just recently, Ghoulam rejected a new contract from Napoli that would’ve increased his earnings from £15,000 to £30,000 per week. The player and his agent wanted (and presumably still want) a £40,000 weekly paycheck, plus the inclusion of a £34 million release clause. Atlético Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are also supposedly interested in his services.
Ghoulam’s current contract is up after next season, so a decision on his future will have to be made soon. Unlike some of the more recent rumors from the Serie A, especially from Lazio, Ghoulam would be a quality signing for the Chelsea left flank and a smart one, too, provided a deal could be done at a reasonable price. However, this being Napoli, the chances of that happening are pretty slim.