Fabrizio Romano claims Chelsea are expecting a deal for Kalidou Koulibaly to come to fruition imminently.

The Napoli man has been sounded out as the first defensive addition to the club, as they look to begin life without Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

The road to finding a new first-choice centre back has been long, with it appearing the club have leaned towards experience in recent reported targets.

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Not many fit that bill better than Koulibaly, with the Senegal international playing at the top level in Italy since 2014. He has been one of the better defenders in Serie A during that time, with journalist Gianluca Di Marzio describing him as “incredible”.

However, he has long been expected to leave this summer, with the Blues accelerating their efforts yesterday towards completing a deal soon.

Koulibaly deal only a matter of time

This appears to have paid off, with Romano stating that the club feel the move is just around the corner, having agreed personal terms with the 31-year-old.

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He tweeted: “Kalidou Koulibaly has accepted Chelsea as next club after new meeting with his agent yesterday in Milano. Personal terms agreed for €10m net salary per year. He’s waiting for the clubs to complete the agreement.

“Chelsea sources consider this deal “just matter of time”.

Chelsea have moved quickly in their approach of Koulibaly, recognising that a slower approach to signing Juventus’ Matthijs de Ligt has opened the door for Bayern to lead that particular race.

Talks have also reached the latter stages over a potential move for Manchester City’s Nathan Ake, as they look to add to their imminent signing of Raheem Sterling from the English champions.

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With Ake’s versatility to play on the left of defence, it is likely he is being scouted as a Rudiger replacement, who broke out on that side of the back three last season.

Koulibaly, meanwhile, looks set to take the reins from Thiago Silva as the experienced member of the backline, given the Brazilian is likely to be entering his last season at the top of the game.

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