Recent comments on the part of Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis point towards Kalidou Koulibaly as having been keen to link up with another of European football’s heavyweights this summer, rather than Chelsea.
Senegalese international Koulibaly, of course, sealed a move to Stamford Bridge earlier this month.
After the Blues came up short in their pursuit of Juventus standout Matthijs de Ligt, attentions swiftly turned towards another of Serie A’s giants, in the form of Napoli.
A big-money deal, in turn, was struck for the Partenopei’s star stopper, expected to slot into Thomas Tuchel’s first-choice backline with immediate effect.
Introducing our second signing of the summer! 🔵#KoulibalyIsChelsea
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 16, 2022
As alluded to above, though, had Koulibaly been granted his wish, then the experienced defender could well have been lining out elsewhere this coming season.
Speaking to Radio Kiss Kiss on Saturday, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis was drawn on his decision to finally part with his side’s star stopper, after rebuffing the advances of the continent’s finest for several years running.
And, after confirming that the deal came to fruition owing to the will of Koulibaly himself, the Italian patron hinted that, had they been in a better financial position, the Senegalese would likely have sealed a move to La Liga, with Barcelona.
De Laurentiis also went on to reveal that he offered Koulibaly a contract worth €6.5 million-per-season in a bid to convince the 31-year-old to stay put.
Napoli president de Laurentiis to Radio Kiss Kiss: “Koulibaly wanted to leave, I told him: I can’t sell you to Barcelona as they had no money. Then we received a proposal from Chelsea, it was impossible to say no” 🔵 #CFC
“I offered €6,5m/season to Koulibaly, he wanted to go”.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 23, 2022