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Chelsea win transfer battle with Arsenal to sign 25-year-old African who Conte will build his team around

Chelsea have reportedly won the race to sign 6′ 5″ Senegal centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly.

That’s according to The Mirror, who claim that the Blues have beaten off competition from Arsenal to land the Napoli defender for £30m, with the deal set to go through once the player agrees a severance package with his current employers.

The Mirror tip Koulibaly for a big role at Stamford Bridge. The tabloid newspaper go as far as to say that new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte “wants to build his side around” the 25-year-old, whose former clubs include Metz and Racing Genk.

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Koulibaly only joined Napoli two years ago. He has so far featured in 60 Serie A games for them.

Last season, he made 42 club appearances in all competitions, picking up 13 yellow cards.

As well as height, Koulibaly boasts impressive pace, something Chelsea have lacked at the back for a while, especially when Kurt Zouma has been out of the side. John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic are all highly experienced defenders, but all three men are slow.

To simply describe Koulibaly as tall and quick would be unfair, though. He reads the game extremely well and is not afraid to put his body on the line for his team, à la Terry.

More Stories Branislav Ivanovic Gary Cahill john terry Kalidou Koulibaly Kurt Zouma