The Chelsea fans in the Transfer Tavern are expecting Antonio Conte to be one of many key figures to depart Stamford Bridge this summer as the club undergo a significant revamp ahead of the new campaign.
The Blues can still salvage their season somewhat with an FA Cup victory over Manchester United next weekend, but after suffering a crushing 3-0 defeat against Newcastle on Sunday afternoon it seems the odds are stacked against Conte’s side going into the final. Conte has cut a dejected figure this season, and both his personal lack of desire to remain at Chelsea along with his side’s poor performances suggest he will embark on a new challenge once the season reaches its conclusion.
Maurizio Sarri has been touted as one of the favourites to succeed the Italian in the Chelsea hot-seat, and if he does indeed arrive at the club he should attempt to bring Kalidou Koulibaly with him to replace Gary Cahil. According to recent reports from The Express, Arsenal want to sign Koulibaly this summer, but they will need to fork out £53 million to secure his services.
Arsenal’s interest in Koulibaly is understandable considering the extent of their defensive frailties this season, but after failing to qualify for the Champions League for the second successive season they will certainly struggle to convince him to swap Naples for North-London.
Now that Cahil is 32-years-old, it’s time for Chelsea to look to the future and replace their ageing talents during the summer window. Cahil has been a loyal member of the club during his 6-year stint in West London, but his form has shown signs of regression this season.
With that in mind, it makes perfect sense for Chelsea to replace him with the 26-year-old Koulibaly. The commanding centre-back has played an instrumental role in Napoli’s bid for the Serie A title this season with his intelligent defensive displays.
Not only is Koulibaly an excellent athlete with an intelligent defensive brain, but he is also composed and effective in possession of the ball, so he should have no problem adapting to life in English football in the future.
Considering neither Arsenal or Chelsea can offer Koulibaly (valued at £45 million by Transfermarkt) Champions League football, it appears both sides are poorly placed to lure the Senegal international to London this summer, but the fact Chelsea have won two Premier League titles in the past four seasons could swing his decision in the their favour.
Chelsea have a huge rebuilding job on their hands this summer following their abject title-defence, and replacing Cahil with Koulibaly should be a top priority when the transfer window re-opens for business.
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