Chelsea are on the verge of reaching an agreement with Napoli to sign Senegal center-back Kalidou Koulibaly as they look to rebuild their defense for next season, according to Sky in Italy.
The deal is expected to close on Wednesday for a fee of between £ 32 million (€ 38 million) and £ 33.7 million (€ 40 million).
The central defender, who has 62 games with Senegal, is also expected to be offered a five-year contract worth about £ 160,000 a week (£ 8.2 a year) net plus bonuses to move to Stamford Bridge.
Koulibaly, who was also interesting at Juventus, has only one year left on his contract with Napoli.
Naples held its first open training session of the summer in front of fans on Tuesday evening, but Koulibaly was not present.
The Blues have lost this summer Antonio Rudiger against Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen with Barcelona -both in free- leaving Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr as the only senior central defenders in Thomas Tuchel’s squad.
Koulibaly, 31, has played more than 300 appearances for the Serie A club since joining the Belgian Genk eight years ago, being named to the Serie A team of the year on four occasions, in more than being named Italy’s best defender in 2019..
In addition to Koulibaly, Chelsea are interested in Nathan Ake of Manchester City, Jules Kounde of Sevilla, Josko Gvardiol of Leipzig and Presnel Kimpembe of Paris Saint-Germain.
The Blues are also enthusiastic about Matthijs from Juventus’ Ligt, but are said to be favoring his move to Bayern Munich.
Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling will become Chelsea’s first signing since the Todd Boehly-led consortium completed the club’s takeover. The City striker underwent a medical on Sunday before his £ 47.5m move to Stamford Bridge.
How will Chelsea line up this season?
The arrival of Todd Boehly’s consortium as the club’s new owners – and with it the promise of a big investment on and off the pitch – has ensured Chelsea fans enter this summer with a wave of optimism.
Even the departure of the club’s signing with Romelu Lukaku on loan at former Inter Milan, a play that served as recognition by both the striker and Chelsea that the transfer was a failure, could not reduce the enthusiasm.
Allowing Lukaku to return to Italy was a move that made sense, and although the imminent arrival of Raheem Sterling has not received universal approval from the fan base, signing someone of his pedigree from a direct rival is a clear sign of Boehly’s ambition.
The signing of Sterling, as well as the move attempt by Leeds Rafinha -who seems to be joining Barcelona now- also serves as a message to the current harvest of Chelsea strikers that their performances so far have not been up to par.
Not surprisingly, it is rumored that some of them are available for other clubs as part of what promises to be a busy summer in west London. Judge Ziyech is a goal of AC Milan, Timo Werner i Christian Pulisic have been related to removals, and Armando Broja – whose status at Chelsea is uncertain after spending last season on loan at Southampton – interests several Premier League teams.
The clear orientation of the ends by Thomas Tuchel in this transfer window also increases the possibility of the head coach considering a move away from his preferred 3-4-3 formation. But with the lack of strikers, not to mention central defenders, how will Chelsea line up next season? How will Sterling fit? And Tuchel will enter the season with Kai Havertz like his number 9, or pushing Boehly to make an impressive move for Cristiano Ronaldo?
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