Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has said that he rejected an offer of €58 million from Chelsea for defender Kalidou Koulibaly late on in the summer transfer window.
The versatile defender is extremely highly-rated in Italy, and was pursued by Blues boss Antonio Conte in a bid to strengthen his defensive options at Stamford Bridge.
Now though it turns out that a €58 million bid, which would have exceeded the £50 million fee Paris Saint-Germain paid Chelsea for David Luiz – a world-record for a defender, was turned down by the Italian club.
The president said at a Leaders in Sport Business conference: ‘My friend Conte will say it is not true but Chelsea offered me, in the last few days of the window, €58m for Koulibaly.
‘I explained to them that this year I could not sell him, but we will see next year.’
Subsequently, Conte resigned Luiz from PSG on deadline day for £30 million, and also brought former Bolton Wanderers defender Marcos Alonso to Stamford Bridge.
However, Chelsea’s defensive vulnerability still remain in the early stages of the season.
The Blues have already conceded nine goals in the Premier League this term, seven in their three matches prior to the Hull City win last weekend, and the Italian boss is already looking ahead to the January transfer window in a bid to strengthen his backline.
Senegalese international Koulibaly signed a new long-term contract at Napoli last month, making any approach from Chelsea even more difficult.