Kalidou Koulibaly ‘turned down a deal from Napoli that would have seen him earn a staggering £51m in five seasons’, as the Senegal captain opted for a move to Chelsea instead
- Kalidou Koulibaly signed for Chelsea for around £33 million earlier this month
- He arrived from Napoli with a reputation as one of the world’s best defenders
- His former club’s President claims he ‘turned down a deal worth £51m’
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has revealed that Kalidou Koulibaly turned down a lucrative five-year contract to stay at Napoli before joining Chelsea.
The defender joined the Blues on a four-year deal earlier this month for a fee of around £33 million, and was a rare bright spark in their 4-0 loss to Arsenal on Sunday.
He had already carved a reputation as a world-class defender before arriving at Stanford Bridge and led Senegal to the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.
Kalidou Koulibaly signed for Chelsea for around £33 million earlier this month
Speaking to Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli, De Laurentiis said: ‘I let Koulibaly go because he told me he still has a few years of playing ahead of him.
‘I replied that he couldn’t go to Barcelona because Barcelona don’t have the money, they are in trouble.’
Despite spending big on players such as Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha, Barca are facing financial issues and owe £1b in debt.
De Laurentiis continued: ‘Then Chelsea came forward, to which we could not say no. With Koulibaly for about a month and a half I insisted, also offering him £5.5million net for five seasons, about £51m gross.
‘But if a player wants to go for another experience, at a prestigious club like Chelsea, in a top league like the Premier League, one must also be grateful and cannot hide behind a no.’
Chelsea get their Premier League campaign underway with an away game at Everton on Saturday, August 6.
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