Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis has revealed the club received a €58 million (£51.3 million) offer from Chelsea for Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer.
The news came via Sky Sports' Bryan Swanson:
After conceding 53 goals last season, Chelsea needed to reinforce their defensive options in the summer transfer window.
As Gianluca Di Marzio's David Amoyal revealed, the 25-year-old was a worthy target for the English outfit:
However, after failing to land Koulibaly, the Blues resorted to buying back David Luiz from Paris Saint-Germain.
Unsurprisingly, recruiting the unreliable Brazilian has done little to improve Chelsea at the back, and the Blues are in need of Koulibaly now more than ever, as noted by Bleacher Report UK's own Gianni Verschueren:
They have already conceded nine league goals—only Liverpool have shipped more in the top half—Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic no longer look convincing, and John Terry will turn 36 in December.
Koulibaly extended his contract to 2021 in September, which will make signing him next summer even more difficult.
The Blues might also struggle to land Villarreal's Mateo Musacchio.
According to Claudio Colla of TransferMarketWeb, Chelsea are scouting the defender ahead of the January transfer window.
However, the defender told El Periodico Mediterraneo (h/t Thomas McIlroy of the Daily Star): "I’m very comfortable here, this is my home after being here for eight years. ... Staying here would be great for me, I’m happy in Villarreal and therefore have no problem staying here."
The 26-year-old is a reliable presence at the back for the Yellow Submarine and comfortable on the ball as well. Here's a look at some of his highlights from last year:
Here's how he's compared with Koulibaly and Chelsea's defenders this season, courtesy of Squawka:
|Musacchio vs. Koulibaly vs. Chelsea's Defenders|
Musacchio could make a fine addition to the Blues' back line, but he's evidently content to stay put—prising him away might be difficult.
Chelsea may not be set to pursue him this winter anyway, as manager Antonio Conte has said the club might not be spending significant amounts in January.
Per Lewis Winter of the Daily Star, the Blues head coach said: "The present is now more important. January is a long way away. I don't see an opportunity in January to spend money or change things."
The news is unlikely to be well received by the majority of Chelsea supporters, given their struggles.
Conte is known for breeding defensive solidity in his teams, but with the personnel he currently has to work with, he can only do so much—new signings are needed for Chelsea to compete with their rivals.
If they do pursue reinforcements, it seems they may have to look at targets other than Koulibaly and Musacchio.