Koulibaly Switches Naples For Chelsea
Centre-back becomes second major signing for Chelsea and will be key cog in Thomas Tuchel’s defensive rebuild
Chelsea have announced the signing of Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £34m. Koulibaly has signed a four-year deal with the West London club and was flown over to Las Vegas for a presentation before joining his new teammates on their preseason tour of the US.
The 31-year-old, considered one of the best defenders in Europe, has for years been linked with a move to England. “I’m very happy to be here with this team at Chelsea,” Koulibaly told the club’s official website. “It’s a big team in the world and my dream was always to play in the Premier League.”
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 16, 2022
The Senegal international, who has 62 caps for his country, will bring assurance and world-class experience to the Blues’ backline, after the high-profile departures of Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona.
Koulibaly moved to Napoli from Belgian side Genk and has spent eight years in Naples, racking up 317 appearances for the Gli Azzurri. He won the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana with the club and was named the best Serie A defender in 2019. He represented Senegal at the 2018 World Cup and won the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations while captaining the ‘Lions of Teranga’.
Known for his size, speed, aerial prowess, anticipation, tackling, passing range and technique, Koulibaly is a physically strong and elegant player. His ability to play the ball out from the back will be vital in Tuchel’s system. Nicknamed ‘The Wall’ and ‘K2’ by Napoli fans, he can play in a three or four-man defensive formation.
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) May 19, 2020
Chelsea will be looking to add another centre-back to their ranks, with talks being held with PSG over French defender Presnel Kimpembe. Another Frenchman, Sevilla’s Joules Kounde, has also been linked. They are likely to miss out on two other targets, Matthijs de Ligt of Juventus and Man City’s Nathan Ake, with the former close to a move to Bayern Munich and City looking to keep the latter.