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Napoli chief hints Koulibaly wanted to join Barcelona over Chelsea

The highly-regarded defender attracted plenty of interest this summer


Recent comments on the part of Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis point towards Kalidou Koulibaly as having been keen to link up with another of European football’s heavyweights this summer, rather than Chelsea.

Senegalese international Koulibaly, of course, sealed a move to Stamford Bridge earlier this month.

After the Blues came up short in their pursuit of Juventus standout Matthijs de Ligt, attentions swiftly turned towards another of Serie A’s giants, in the form of Napoli.

A big-money deal, in turn, was struck for the Partenopei’s star stopper, expected to slot into Thomas Tuchel’s first-choice backline with immediate effect.

As alluded to above, though, had Koulibaly been granted his wish, then the experienced defender could well have been lining out elsewhere this coming season.

Speaking to Radio Kiss Kiss on Saturday, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis was drawn on his decision to finally part with his side’s star stopper, after rebuffing the advances of the continent’s finest for several years running.

And, after confirming that the deal came to fruition owing to the will of Koulibaly himself, the Italian patron hinted that, had they been in a better financial position, the Senegalese would likely have sealed a move to La Liga, with Barcelona.

De Laurentiis also went on to reveal that he offered Koulibaly a contract worth €6.5 million-per-season in a bid to convince the 31-year-old to stay put.

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Conor Laird

Conor Laird

Die-hard Juventus fan with a love for all things Italian, and a real soft spot for Arsenal cult heroes. Emmanuel Eboue, Nicklas Bendtner, Philippe Senderos... Give them all statues outside the Emirates.



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