Chelsea are ‘close’ to reaching an agreement to sign Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, but Barcelona have asked the defender to ‘wait’ before making a decision on his future.
Koulibaly is nearing a move to Chelsea with the west Londoners having targeted the centre-back to bolster their defensive options, having seen both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen depart on free transfers this summer.
The Senegal international has expressed a desire for a new challenge after eight seasons in Naples and Sky Sports Italia are reporting that an agreement is close on a deal worth between £32m (€38m) and £33.7m (€40m).
Koulibaly has been continually linked with a big-money move across his time with Napoli, where he has been named in the Serie A Team of the Year on four occasions and as the division’s best defender during the 2018/19 campaign.
The 31-year-old – who captained Senegal to Africa Cup of Nations success in January – has just one year remaining on his current contract and is expected to sign a long-term deal at Stamford Bridge.
However, Sport are reporting that Barcelona are rivalling Chelsea’s interest and have asked the defender to delay making a decision on his future.
Barcelona are pursuing a deal for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, but are considering Koulibaly as a potential alternative should a move fail to materialise.
Juventus are also interested in Koulibaly, though Napoli are reluctant to sell the defender to a divisional rival.