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Chelsea Transfer News: Kalidou Koulibaly 'Can Leave,' Says Napoli President

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2017

NAPLES, ITALY - APRIL 05:  Kalidou Koulibaly of SSC Napoli in action during the TIM Cup match between SSC Napoli and Juventus FC at Stadio San Paolo on April 5, 2017 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)
Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

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.

Chelsea's English defender John Terry celebrates victory after the FA Cup semi-final football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley stadium in London on April 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Ian KINGTON / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RE
IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

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.

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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. 

For more news, rumours and related stories about Kalidou Koulibaly, Chelsea and the Premier League, check out the Premier League and Chelsea streams on Bleacher Report's app.

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