Chelsea in pole position to sign €50m-rated Serie A centre-back

The London giants are lining up a winter swoop for Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly as an alternative to main transfer target Jules Kounde. France international was tipped to make the switch to Chelsea before the transfer deadline day, but the move eventually collapsed due to a difference in valuation between Sevilla and Chelsea.

La Liga giants refused to let go of their asset for anything less than his release clause, but the Blues were unwilling to pay £68.5m for Kounde.

Following the permanent departures of Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma to Milan and West Ham United, respectively, Chelsea defensive roster has become a bit thin considering they usually deploy a defence consisting of three centre-backs.

Thiago Silva, Rudiger and Christensen the just senior options available at the German manager’s disposal, along with defender Cesar Azpilicueta. Young Trevoh Chalobah has made a promising start to the campaign but is still in the early stages of his development and may take time to nurture properly.

Considering Silva, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are all in the final year of their deals and Azpilicueta not getting any younger, a new centre-back could be on the cards. And one of the players that has popped up is Senegal international.

Regarded as one of the best centre-backs in Serie A for a long while now, due to his consistent dominant displays, Kalidou has been a regular at the heart of the Napoli defence since making his move from Belgian club Genk. Koulibaly has racked up 283 games for Napoli to date, chipping in with 11 goals and five assists along the way.