Club president explains how Chelsea beat Barcelona to centre-back transfer

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has explained the reason he allowed experienced centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly to join Chelsea this summer after turning down the approach from Barcelona.

It seems that Chelsea and Barcelona share several transfer targets in this window and have unsurprisingly competed for these players’ signatures.

Raphinha, for example, for whom Chelsea reportedly had an agreement with Leeds United, before he eventually joined Barcelona.

The two clubs are reportedly also in a seemingly endless transfer race for Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde.

While it remains unclear who will emerge victorious in Kounde transfer saga, Chelsea have at least won the battle for another top centre-back, Koulibaly.

According to De Laurentiis, it was rather simple, Chelsea proved that they could fund the transfer.

Photo by SSC NAPOLI/SSC NAPOLI via Getty Images

“I let Koulibaly go [to Chelsea] because he asked me to,” the Napoli chief told the club’s official radio Kiss Kiss Napoli (via La Gazzetta dello Sport).

“I told him no for Barcelona because he didn’t have the money to pay. With Chelsea, it was different.

“If a player wants to go to a prestigious club, in the English Premier League, which is the best league, you can’t always hide behind a no, you also have to be grateful.”

Photo by Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea would hope to beat Barcelona to the transfer of Kounde in a similar fashion, given their reportedly higher bid for the defender.

On the other hand, Catalan club’s having activated their second economic lever this summer certainly put them in a stronger position to compete with Chelsea.

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A Chelsea fan who loves football statistics. Studied sports journalism at the University of Sunderland.