Quietly bubbling away in the background of the early part of Silly Season have been rumors linking Napoli man-mountain defender Kalidou Koulibaly to Chelsea.
It was two summers ago — feels just like yesterday! — that we all suffered from K2 fatigue as persistent rumors had Napoli’s chairman, Aurelio De Laurentiis, teasing and drawing us out on Chelsea’s supposed interest in Koulibaly, before finally claiming he had snubbed our €58 million offer. Whatever. K2 signed a new contract and that was that, right?
Not exactly. For one thing, De Laurentiis left the door open for a new bid.
“My friend Conte will say it is not true but Chelsea offered me, in the last few days of the window, €58m [£50m] for Koulibaly. I explained to them that this year I could not sell him, but we will see next year.”
And what do you know, about a week ago the rumors of Chelsea’s supposed interest resurfaced, with a report in Il Mattino, the Napoli daily newspaper. Only now the price had soared to £70 million (€78 mil) — or so they claimed. That story eventually morphed into Chelsea wanting to buy K2, right-back Elseid Hysaj and their current manager, Maurizio Sarri, as a package deal.
If it all seemed highly improbable, a fantasy bubble created and floated by someone hoping to gain something, then Koulibaly’s agent, Bruno Satin, just grabbed a pin and burst it. Because apparently K2 must play in the Champions League, which Napoli will and we (probably) won’t.
“Koulibaly, Sarri and Hysaj to Chelsea? I don’t know anything, neither do I know if Chelsea will qualify for the Champions League or not.
”It’s important to understand how the season will end because important players want to play the Champions League.”
Phew! So it’s over, right? No more Koulibaly-to-Chelsea rumors?
Ah, you must learn the wicked ways of agents, grasshopper. Just a few short breaths later, Satin had upped his player’s price yet again.
“Is Koulibaly worth €100m? The market and De Laurentiis will decide because Kalidou has no release clause. The President may also decide to keep him because he considers him important for the team.
”I don’t know if these three games will be his last for Napoli because there have been offers every year, but Koulibaly has always ended up staying, so he won’t necessarily leave.
”It’s difficult to make predictions now, plus there’s also a need to understand what Sarri will do.”
-Bruno Satin; source: Evening Standard