Chelsea step up transfer interest in Koulibaly and are ready to match Napoli’s £34m asking price 


Chelsea are reportedly willing to meet Napoli’s £34million asking price for Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

The Blues are looking to bring in defensive reinforcements this summer after losing both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively. In their search for a reliable defender, they have scouted and agreed to sign 31-year-old Koulibaly.

The Napoli defender is one of Europe’s leading defenders and will cost the Premier League team a fortune. But according to the Italian newspaper Corriere Dello Sport via The Sun, Chelsea are not worried over the fee and are prepared to stump up the £34m Napoli are asking for to part ways with the defender.

Koulibaly is out of contract in Naples at the end of next season, meaning this summer is Napoli’s last chance to get a fee from him.

Juventus are also understood to be interested in the Senegalese, as they prepare to lose Matthijs de Ligt, who has been linked with both Chelsea and Bayern Munich

But in a boost to the Blues, Koulibaly’s loyalty to Napoli means that he does not want to play for another Serie A club.

Barcelona are also reported to be keen on his signature but have already signed Andreas Christensen this summer.

Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti is so desperate to keep his star man that he will resign if his side cashes in on him.

The centre-back has spent the last eight years in Naples, playing over 300 times for the club.

Meanwhile, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis admitted last month that they could not force the defender to stay.

He said: “He is a symbol of Napoli, and if he wants to no longer be a symbol, he must decide.

“We must decide. We want Koulibaly to stay, but people can’t be forced to stay.

“Everyone has their own dignity and needs. We respect everyone.”