Report: Chelsea firmly in race to sign defender described as 'best in the world', available for £34m

Chelsea have reportedly upped their interest in a move for Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Senegalese star’s future is unclear in Serie A, with Chelsea one a number of European sides interested in his services.

Napoli’s captain has been with the side for eight years, making 317 appearances and winning two trophies.

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The 30-year-old achieved international glory this year too, helping Senegal win the African Cup of Nations.

However, it’s being reported Koulibaly is set to end his Serie A stay, with La Gazzetta dello Sport claiming Chelsea are ‘firmly’ in the race.

They say the recent takeover of the club has allowed them to offer personal teams to the defender, however a deal with Napoli is still yet to be agreed.

Chelsea’s interest in centre-backs this summer has been well documented, and the club seem to have chosen Italy as a good scouting ground.

The Blues have been linked with Juventus’ Matthjis de Ligt and Inter Milan’s Stefan de Vrij, as they look to fill the void left by the departure of Antonio Rudiger.

The signing of Thiago Silva two years ago will help the club look past the potential age factor, with the Brazilian showing class can prevail in the twilight of a player’s career.

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Going for experience is certainly what the Blues should have high on their list of desirables when looking at centre-backs this summer. Not only is that to replicate the successes seen with Silva, but also with an eye for the future generation learning.

Trevor Chalobah made his breakthrough into the Chelsea side last season, starring as part of a back three whenever he featured. Despite this, he still looks raw at points.

Koulibaly provides another positive role model for upcoming centre-backs at the club to base their game on. This would also prove beneficial for Levi Colwill, who is looking to break into the Chelsea setup next year.

Jack is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has freelanced for The Athletic and The Sun. Jack has reported live from Premier League and Championship grounds, whilst also being published in the Non League Paper.