Chelsea

This £36.5m-rated defender could be Chelsea’s dream replacement for David Luiz

The Chelsea fans have been relatively downbeat in the Transfer Tavern in recent weeks due to their side’s sudden downturn in form in the Premier League, but recent reports have given them reason to be optimistic about the future. 

Antonio Conte’s side have suddenly dropped off the pace in the league in recent weeks and they find themselves chasing a place in the top-four as a consequence. Chelsea face an uphill battle to catch their London-rivals Tottenham Hotspur in fourth place, and on recent form it’s fair to say they might pay the ultimate price for their slump in recent weeks.

The Blues faithful propping up our bar are naturally concerned by the prospect of finishing outside of the top-four for plenty of reasons, not least of which concerns their club’s ambitions in the transfer market next season. Indeed, plenty of supporters have voiced their concerns that Chelsea’s failure to qualify for the Champions League will negatively impact on their ambitions in the transfer market.

If Chelsea want to narrow the gulf in class between themselves and Manchester City next season, they will need to sign top quality players in the summer, but they may struggle to attract the necessary calibre of player without the appeal of Champions League football. According to The Daily Star, one player who Chelsea are interested in signing is Napoli’s Kalidou Kouliably (valued at £36 million by Transfermarkt).

The Senegalese international would be a brilliant addition to Chelsea’s defensive unit, especially considering David Luiz looks destined to depart the club in the summer. Koulibaly has been an ever-present rock at the heart of Napoli’s defence throughout their title-chasing season, and his performances have also attracted interest from Arsenal and Manchester United according to the report.

Not only is Koulibaly an intelligent defender with a strong physical presence, he also highly effective in possession of the ball. In Europe’s top five leagues, only Nicolas Otamendi (2549) has made more passes than Kouliably this season (2260).

With Luiz presumably on his way out of the club and Gary Cahil approaching his 33rd birthday this year, it seems likely that a defensive shake-up is imminent at Stamford Bridge, so Chelsea must ensure they qualify for the Champions League this season to give themselves a chance of persuading Koulibaly to make a switch from Naples to London in the summer.

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