Chelsea’s pursuit of Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly has been stepped up with a £34million deal edging closer, according to reports.
The Blues are in urgent need of defensive reinforcements following the departures of centre backs Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen – and have been linked to a host of names this summer.
One of their targets has been Koulibaly and an agreement is looking more likely with a long-term deal and £34m on the table, report The Athletic.
Koulibaly has long been linked with a move to the Premier League after impressing in Serie A and on the European stage and Thomas Tuchel’s side look to be in the frame to land his signature this summer.
The 31-year-old Senegal international has just one year left on his deal in Naples, meaning the Italian giants could be keen to cash in on him now to avoid running the risk of losing him for nothing next summer.
Chelsea have got money to spend following the £4.25billion takeover by American billionaire Todd Boehly but they are yet to make their first signing of the summer transfer window.
The Blues are interested in Joules Kounde, Nathan Ake and Presnel Kimpembe as they look to overhaul their backline, while Raheem Sterling is on the verge of swapping Manchester for London.
The Blues made it clear they wanted the City forward to take on a key role of their attacking overhaul and, following positive talks with Tuchel, Sterling opted for Stamford Bridge.
Alongside his lawyer, Sterling is understood to have negotiated a five-year contract worth significantly more than his existing £300,000 a week. There is the option for an extension of one season on a deal that takes him into the Premier League’s top three earners.
Chairman Boehly led discussions with City over a fee and £50m was agreed over the weekend. It’s thought Boehly may be flying out to Los Angeles – where Tuchel and his players are currently in training camp – with Sterling on Tuesday.
Chelsea are due to play Mexican giants Club America in Las Vegas, Charlotte FC in North Carolina and London rivals Arsenal in Orlando across the Atlantic.
Boehly’s Blues have also been linked to Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo after he rocked the Red Devils by expressing his desire to leave.