Chelsea will have set a new club record if they are to secure one of their top transfer targets this summer.
According to The Mirror, the Blues have been chasing 25-year-old Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly for over a year, while Everton have also registered an interest.
However, the same publication adds that both clubs have had sizeable bids rejected by Napoli.
Chelsea had a €55m offer rebuffed, while Everton went as high as £60m (€71m), but were still unsuccessful.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is quoted by The Mirror as saying: “Chelsea had offered €55m (£47m), but I told [Antonio] Conte that I could not give him up without first having a worthy substitute.”
Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri told The Mirror late last year that Napoli “wanted £60m”.
Moshiri added: “We went right to the asking price, and they decided not to sell.”
Chelsea must therefore presumably go even higher than £60m if they are to get their man.
Koulibaly would likely become the club’s record signing were he to swap Naples for South London.
Fernando Torres remains Chelsea’s most expensive acquisition to date, having cost £50m, as reported by BBC Sport, when he joined from Liverpool in January 2011.
A transfer fee in excess of £60m would also make Koulibaly the world’s most expensive defender by a long way.
You have to be some defender to command such a price-tag.
You have to be an incredible CB for your club to demand more than £60m for your transfer…
Kalidou Koulibaly is just that??
?beIN Sports pic.twitter.com/Td1IvJjgBs
— CaughtOffside (@caughtoffside) April 28, 2017