Ex-Napoli boss Benitez reveals his two major worries as Koulibaly joins Chelsea

Joe Williams
Former Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez smiles

Former Napoli boss Rafa Benitez is concerned that new Chelsea signing Kalidou Koulibaly could be too nice for the Premier League.

The Spaniard managed Napoli between 2013 and 2015 with Benitez taking charge of Koulibaly’s first season at the club in the 2014/15 campaign.

Eight years later and the Senegal international is about to play in the Premier League after securing a £34m move to Chelsea.

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Benitez is familiar with both Koulibaly and the Premier League after managing Liverpool, Chelsea, Newcastle United and Everton.

And Benitez has some concerns about whether Koulibaly will suit the Premier League while he wants to see him improve his concentration.

Speaking to The Athletic, Benitez said: “He must improve his concentration at times.

“He can be guilty of losing focus and can be overconfident, but he has been hugely influential at Napoli and people I know and trust have told me that he has been the best centre-back in Italy during this time.

“This season will be the Premier League for him and he could be fine for the way that Tuchel wants to play. He has similarities with Rudiger — he is very good at running with the ball, he’s good with both feet.

“Is he a little bit too nice? We will see what happens at Chelsea. As I said, in Italy he was fine because he was so quick, but I doubt he will be so dominant over here.

“Aerial ability wasn’t his biggest strength but in Italy that mattered a bit less and he was ok.

“It will be interesting to see how that develops in the Premier League but he was always very keen to learn. He spent time with me and my staff after training sessions to work on his heading and improving his technique.”

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was delighted to sign Koulibaly, he said: “I’m very happy with him signing and joining our team.

“He’s now the second signing of the summer and again we have a strong player, a strong personality with big experience. From our point of view, he’s a perfect addition to the group.”