Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has revealed that he rejected a £58m bid from Chelsea for central defender Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer.
The Partenopei owner was in London for the Sports Business Summit on Wednesday, and covered various topics when talking to reporters.
Among the subjects that came up was reported interest from Chelsea in Koulibaly this past summer, and De Laurentiis was seemingly more than happy to reveal details of the offer that he received from the Premier League giants.
“My friend [Antonio] Conte will say it isn’t true but Chelsea offered in the last few days of the transfer window just less than £58m for Koulibaly,” he said, as reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I explained to him I wouldn’t sell this year, but we will see next year.”
Koulibaly played an instrumental role in Napoli’s title bid last season, establishing himself as one of the best centre-halves in Serie A with his consistency and commanding displays.
In turn, it’s no surprise that other clubs were interested in acquiring his services, not least Chelsea with Conte still struggling with his defence seven games into the Premier League campaign.
Despite signing David Luiz and Marcos Alonso on deadline day, Chelsea have still conceded nine goals in those seven games, the second worst defensive record of the top 10 teams in the standings.
Conte has deployed a back three during spells with Juventus and Italy, but having failed in his bid to sign Koulibaly, who given the fee being talked about was evidently a top target this summer, coupled with the current absence of injured captain John Terry, he has encounter some troubles at Stamford Bridge which he will perhaps look to find the long-term solutions for next year.