When Kalidou Koulibaly joined Chelsea last summer, three weeks shy of exactly a year, it felt like the culmination of a story half a decade in the making, if not more.
Koulibaly always looked destined to play in the Premier League, and he had been long-linked with Chelsea, so it felt like the right move at the right time for all involved. He got John Terry’s blessing to be the first to wear the No.26 since JT himself. At the very least, we expected that he would lessen the blow of Antonio Rüdiger’s departure and become another experienced, excellent anchor of the backline.
Wonder if Koulibaly represents a record ratio between time spent being linked with the Premier League and level of subsequent performance in the Premier League— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) June 21, 2023
Alas, much like our season overall, things quickly went downhill. And, as it would turn out, that goal against Spurs in the second game of the season would be the highlight of his Chelsea career.
Today, K2’s departure was confirmed, as he joins Al Hilal in the Saudi Professional League on a three-year contract.
Al Hilal are reportedly paying £20m for the transfer, which means that Chelsea are taking a pretty decent net loss (we paid €40m to Napoli), though the wage savings (not to mention the squad spot) are the more significant aspects of this deal for us.
Still, it’s a bit sad that K2’s time at Chelsea did not live up to expectations, his or ours.
Best of luck in your next adventure, Kalidou!
From my first game to my last, it was an honour to wear this badge.— Koulibaly Kalidou (@kkoulibaly26) June 25, 2023
Last season wasn’t the one we wanted, but I want to thank the fans and everyone at the club for your support #KK pic.twitter.com/93V2e2a7JG