Napoli defender Elseid Hysaj would have signed for Chelsea in 2018 were it not for interference from Carlo Ancelotti, according to the player’s agent.
Calcio Mercato reports that the Blues were hopeful of luring the Albanian full-back to Stamford Bridge last summer, but Napoli boss Ancelotti blocked a mooted deal.
The Italian club lost their former manager Maurizio Sarri at the end of last season, as he decided to accept the top job at Chelsea, bringing prized midfielder Jorginho from Naples to London with him.
The 59-year-old head coach had also planned on taking Hysaj too, but Ancelotti persuaded him to stay after taking over at Napoli, promising him a prominent role in his team over the course of the 2018-19 campaign.
Mario Giufreddi, Hysaj’s agent, revealed how close his client came to a switch to London on Friday, as he told Radio Marte via Calcio Mercato: “A transfer for Hysaj in January? In the summer he could have gone with Sarri to Chelsea, but Ancelotti openly told us that he needed him.”
The Albania international has featured in 15 Serie A games for Napoli this term, but he has not always been a starter and Chelsea are reportedly still monitoring his situation in Italy.
As per Calcio Mercato, when asked if any potential suitors could trigger the €50m clause in Hysaj’s current contract in January, Giufreddi responded: “50 million clause? I do not talk about money, we need to find a solution to the problem. He was among the best performing full-backs in Europe.
“If this is not the case, however, it must be said clearly without causing damage to the company and the player. If he is seen as an alternative we will ask for a sale in January.”
The Blues still have an outside chance of challenging for the Premier League title this season, while also being in the running for three cup competitions and Sarri could use some extra reinforcements at the back.
Hysaj has the quality and experience at the highest level to add a new dimension to the Chelsea line-up and given his previous history with Sarri, he could make the transition into English football seamlessly.