Chelsea have been given a boost in their long-term pursuit of Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly after Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis opened the door for the Senegal international's departure.
Chelsea missed out on signing Koulibaly last summer as they did not meet the £60 million asking price, but De Laurentiis indicated should the Blues return for him at the end of the 2016-17 season he would allow the defender to leave, per Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t George Boulton in The Sun):
"If there's a new offer from Chelsea for Koulibaly? It will depend on the player's will, because if he doesn't want to stay then he can leave."
Chelsea will be in the market for a new centre-back in the summer as John Terry is set to depart the club.
With the Blues also set to return to the UEFA Champions League next season, they will need more options to deal with the busier schedule.
Koulibaly, 25, would be a fantastic addition and has not ruled out a move to the Premier League, per Boulton.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte's preferred 3-4-3 system requires three players to be deployed in the centre-back role.
As a solid defensive presence capable of both stopping opposition attacks and releasing the ball from deep, Koulibaly could potentially be a fine fit at Stamford Bridge.
He is contracted to Napoli to 2021, so Chelsea will still need to shell out a significant fee to sign him up, but the Serie A outfit are seemingly open to letting him go.
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