Chelsea are in talks to sign Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly as they look to rebuild their defence.
The Blues lost Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona this summer – both on free transfers – leaving Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr as the only senior centre-backs in Thomas Tuchel’s squad.
But Koulibaly could be set to strengthen the head coach’s options, although Juventus are also interested in the Napoli defender.
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Koulibaly – who won the Africa Cup of Nations alongside Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy with Senegal in February – has just one year remaining on his Napoli contract.
The 31-year-old has made over 300 appearances for the Serie A club since joining from Belgian side Genk eight years ago.
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Koulibaly – who has 62 caps for Senegal – has been named in the Serie A team of the year on four occasions, and was named as the best defender in Italy in 2019.
As well as Koulibaly, Chelsea also have an interest in Manchester City’s Nathan Ake, Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol and Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe.
The Blues are also keen on Juventus’ Matthijs de Ligt, but he reportedly favours a move to Bayern Munich.
Raheem Sterling is set to become Chelsea’s first signing since the consortium led by Todd Boehly completed its takeover of the club. The Manchester City forward underwent a medical on Sunday ahead of 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 large investment on and off the field – have ensured Chelsea supporters entered this summer riding a wave of optimism.
Even the departure of club record signing Romelu Lukaku on loan to former side Inter Milan – a move that served as an acknowledgment by both the striker and Chelsea that the transfer was a failure – couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm.
Allowing Lukaku to return to Italy was a move that made sense and, while the imminent arrival of Raheem Sterling hasn’t been met with universal approval from the fanbase, 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 attempted move for Leeds’ Raphinha – who is reportedly now likely to join Barcelona – also serves as a message to Chelsea’s current crop of forwards that their performances to date have not been up to scratch.
Unsurprisingly, a number of them are rumoured to be available to other clubs as part of what promises to be a busy summer in west London. Hakim Ziyech is a target for AC Milan, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic have been linked with moves away, and Armando Broja – whose status at Chelsea is uncertain after spending last season on loan at Southampton – is of interest to several Premier League sides.
The clear targeting of wingers by Thomas Tuchel in this transfer window also raises the prospect of the head coach pondering a move away from his preferred 3-4-3 formation. But with a lack of strikers – not to mention centre-backs – how will Chelsea line up next season? How will Sterling fit in? And will Tuchel enter the season with Kai Havertz as his No 9, or push Boehly to make a stunning move for Cristiano Ronaldo?
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