The transfer for the next four seasons of Kalidou Koulibaly, the mainstay of the Neapolitan defence, has been formalized by Chelsea. A departure that, given the importance of the 31-year-old Senegalese in Campania, seems to be a major brake on Napoli’s latest ambitions. On the London side, this arrival lays the foundation for a summer that should be less complicated than expected.
You have to believe that the lift concept is a tradition passed on to its players by FC Metz. Passed by the club at the cross of Lorraine in an era even less glorious than that for which the Grenades are preparing (with a descent to National in 2012), Kalidou Koulibaly knows only one meaning: the climb. So, after Genk and Napoli, the 31-year-old Senegalese is leaving what seems more and more like a swamp on the southern Italian side to join Chelsea.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 16, 2022
Still in jeopardy a few months ago, Londoners are green again after the already formalized arrival of Raheem Sterling, while simultaneously sending out all the rumors that promised them hell this summer following Roman Abramovich’s departure. Still in the race Shieldthem Partenopei they will again be forced to lower their ambitions.
A K for two
For several weeks, the outcome seemed inevitable in Campania. At the end of the contract next summer, the double K, 317 games on the clock with the Neapolitans, was clearly unhappy with the various proposals from Aurelio de Laurentiis and Cristiano Guintoli. However, at the end of May, Luciano Spalletti planned to preserve the Senegalese rock: “Koulibaly is not for sale in my opinion, just like last season when I threatened to be chained at the gates if he were sold. I’m starting again! » During the trial, the gentleman was even downright complimentary to his defender, unless it was a plea addressed directly to his president: “He is a player who is always ready to lend a hand, he knows where to step in and how to raise the level. He always does the right thing. We want to experience another important season, so it cannot be People say we can have a younger player, but you can’t buy a leader who has grown here for so many years, who lives and breathes the city and brings that passion back to the field.”
An attempt which was ultimately in vain, as De Laurentiis did not treat Koulibaly as he undoubtedly deserved. Instead, the owner of Partenopei preferred to put pressure on his player. “It is he who must decide whether he wants to be a symbol of Naples”rocked ADL at the end of the season. I can’t force anyone to stay, everyone has their needs. We respect everyone. I’ve never forced anyone to stay when they wanted to leave, even if their contract didn’t expire. » A more or less elegant way to make it clear to his captain that he would not revise his proposal upwards, quite the contrary. Even if that means jeopardizing the future of a club that will undoubtedly struggle to recover from this departure. Especially since the Vosges are not the only ones to bear the brunt of this management, to say the least, on the part of De Laurentiis. For him, and only this summer, David Ospina, Dries Mertens, the club’s top scorer, and Lorenzo Insigne, the Napoli boy who became an icon, were also not selected. Together they perfectly symbolize this step back from a Napoli who has nevertheless fought to the end, or almost, for the title this year and who will now have to lower his ambitions.
Todd to life
With the difference that Koulibaly still brings in a nice check for about forty million euros at his old club. It is still necessary for Guintoli and De Laurentiis to make good use of it. The former names to replace the Senegalese, Leo Østigård and Kim Min-jae, also the target of Rennes, are frankly not of the same caliber as KK. Besides saving the treasury of PartenopeiChelsea are far from the most in financial trouble in Serie A, but are taking the opportunity to send a message. After the loss of Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen, who both left for the other side of the Pyrenees, and before possibly saying goodbye, or rather goodbyeto the indestructible César Azpilicueta, the Blues strengthening a sector that has weakened significantly in recent weeks. In addition to the Koulibaly opportunity, other big names – Presnel Kimpembe and Nathan Ake are mentioned – are circulating to bolster the defense of the club now led by Todd Boehly. More importantly, with the arrival of Raheem Sterling, the residents of Stamford Bridge also show that their ambitions remain intact. Unlike Napoli’s who, after getting off the train, Shield this season, now seems doomed to remain in the dock.
By Florian Porta