When it comes to taking part in signings, one of the most important parts of any signing is the player being willing to go. When you sign a player who was not really committed to the project, such as Chelsea did last year with Romelu Lukaku, the results are rarely positive. This summer, then, much has been made about a move for Napoli stalwart Kalidou Koulibaly. The central defender is regarded as among the best in the world – but would he be keen to play for someone other than Napoli at this point?
Often, any talk of the player leaving Naples has been quashed with massive price tags being applied. The player has stayed loyal to the club, even with a paucity of trophies to show for his effort. Now, though, this summer could be the time when Napoli cash in on a modern club legend. A fee of around €40m is expected to be enough to get the club to talk about the sale.
Given his contract runs out in 2023, and Napoli are infamous for being tough negotiators even with their own stars, Koulibably could be sold on for a fair price. When asked about whether or not his star player and captain could be sold, though, Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti struck a much more conciliatory tone.
Previously, the firebrand Italian had made clear he would resign if the player was sold. However, given it looks like he will not be sold to rivals Juventus, and the fee could be used to rebuild, it sounds like Spalletti has accepted the likely reality of losing his talismanic central defender.
What was said about Kalidou Koulibaly leaving Chelsea?
Italian football will often see coaches hold Q&A sessions with the fans of the club. Spalletti took part in something like this recently, and told fans at the Q&A that he wanted to keep the Senegal legend. However, he admitted this might not be possible, saying: “I always remain of the same opinion. I always prefer Koulibaly to everyone,
“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.”
This has been the first time since the player rose to the peak of his position that Napoli have ever spoken in anything other than unerring terms that he would be sold. Given Blues need a new central defender, it sounds like they might be landing one of the very best in the business to join an already rugged backline.