Spalletti confirms that Koulibaly could leave Napoli amid latest Chelsea links

Joe Williams
Chelsea target Kalidou Koulibaly claps the supporters

Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti has suggested that Kalidou Koulibaly could leave the Serie A club this summer amid links to Chelsea.

The Blues are looking to replace Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen who they have lost on free transfers this summer to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

And now momentum is building in the media that Koulibaly will fill one of those holes as the reliable journalist David Ornstein confirmed yesterday Chelsea ‘are in talks to sign’ Koulibaly from Napoli.

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The Athletic journalist added: ‘Discussions are taking place over a possible deal that could see the 31-year-old move to Stamford Bridge on a long-term contract for a proposed €40 million fee.

‘Negotiations are ongoing but an agreement between the clubs and the Senegal captain is thought to be close.’

Koulibaly later confirmed that transfer talks were going smoothly, he told French reporter Romain Collet-Gaudin: “I can confirm later, but it is on the right track.”

And now Napoli manager Spalletti insists he “will wish him the best” if he leaves but admits he would like the centre-back in his team next season.

“I always remain of the same opinion. I always prefer Koulibaly to everyone,” Spalletti said in a Q&A session on Wednesday.

“It is easy for me because he, as a Napoli player, is the one who has the highest average points. When he was on the pitch, we scored more points.

“Should he choose to go, we will never stop thanking him for everything he taught us and for everything he gave us to make us play in the Champions League this year.

“He is very good, very strong. This year he would also be captain [if he chose to stay].

“If he will choose different things, we will wish him the best because he deserves it all, and woe to anyone who will tell him something if he has to make different choices.”

Koulibaly has spent eight seasons marshalling Napoli’s backline since moving to Italy from Genk for £6.5m in 2014, winning a Coppa Italia and a Supercoppa Italia in that time.