Chelsea spent much of the summer of 2016 pursuing Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, going through a series of bids, rejections, and dashed dreams as Aurelio Di Laurentiis played us like a fiddle. Eventually, we scrambled on Deadline Day (surprise!) to re-sign David Luiz (SURPRISE!), and while that worked out pretty well for a while, it was clearly a stopgap solution.
In most of the transfer windows since, Koulibaly’s name made at least a token appearance in the Chelsea rumor mill, and as we start looking forward to the next one (apparently never too early for that!), he’s back already once again.
Naples-based Il Mattino (via Sport Witness) claim that Napoli “could” sell the now 28-year-old center back this summer, especially if Napoli continue to disappoint and finish in mid-table. While Koulibaly is contracted through 2023, the team may need to raise some cash for a rebuild. Koulibaly of 28 may not be the Koulibaly of 24-26, but the report claims that at least four Premier League teams are already at the front of the queue. Chelsea are of course one of the four, which also includes Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal.
So, that’s all a whole bunch of conjecture and speculation, but don’t be surprised if Koulibaly’s name pops up again later. Chelsea’s most obvious issues may be in attack, but given Lampard’s continuing search for a solid solution at center back — he’s tried practically all the possible pairings already — a world-class defensive signing this summer shouldn’t be ruled out either. Spending big on a 28-year-old may not be the best idea, but if Napoli are selling, there will be plenty of interested buyers.