Chelsea are hopeful of securing deal for centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, 90min understands, with the player keen on a move to London and Napoli unwilling to do business with Serie A rivals Juventus.
Having joined Napoli way back in 2014, Koulibaly has entered the final year of his contract and is now set for a new challenge in a fresh chapter of his career.
Chelsea are in the market for central defenders this summer after losing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen as free agents to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, and could sign as many as three if manager Thomas Tuchel gets his way.
90min understands that Kouliably has always been considered an option, with Chelsea in contact with his representatives earlier in the summer, and talks over a move for the 31-year-old are now accelerating.
Personal terms will not be an issue for the club, 90min understands, and Koulibaly has indicated a desire to head to west London.
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Chelsea have gone into the driving seat as a result of Napoli’s stance regarding a potential sale to Juventus. A switch to Turin might have been possible had Juve been the only club interested in the player, but Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is pushing for a deal with Chelsea instead and has made it clear he does not want to sell Koulibaly to the Old Lady.
Juventus are in the market for a replacement for Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, who 90min understands is nearing a move to Bayern Munich - the Bundesliga champions are increasingly confident of completing a deal after positive talks, fending off interest from Chelsea in the process.
Chelsea have seemingly moved on from De Ligt and 90min understands that the club want Koulibaly and Manchester City’s Nathan Ake to be the first two of three new centre-backs arriving at Stamford Bridge this summer.
Options for the third remain Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe or long-term target Jules Kounde at Sevilla.