Chelsea have completed the signing of Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli on a four-year contract, the Premier League club announced on Saturday.
British media reported that Chelsea had paid a fee of around 32 million pounds ($38 million) for Koulibaly, who becomes the London side’s second summer signing since the Todd Boehly-led takeover after the arrival of Raheem Sterling on Wednesday. “I am very happy to be here with this team at Chelsea,” Koulibaly said in a statement. “They are a great team in the world and my dream has always been to play in the Premier League.
“Chelsea came first to get me in 2016 but we didn’t get there. Now when they came to me I accepted it because they really wanted me to come to the Premier League to play for them.” Chelsea lost centre-backs Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen earlier in the close season, and Koulibaly’s edition will be a boost for Thomas Tuchel’s side as they seek to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool.
Koulibaly made 317 appearances for Napoli after joining Belgian club Genk in 2014, winning two trophies and cementing his place among some of Italy’s top defenders. He was included in the Serie A Team of the Year four times and named the league’s best defender in 2018-19.
Koulibaly also spoke out against racism during his time at Napoli after being abused by the mob on several occasions. The 31-year-old has earned 62 caps for Senegal since making his senior debut in 2015 and led them to victory at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
“From our point of view, he is a perfect addition to the squad,” Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel told the club’s website. “We have a strong player, a strong personality with a lot of experience… I’m very happy that he signed and joined our team.”
Chelsea, who finished third last season, are currently in the United States on a pre-season tour. They kick off the new campaign with a trip to Everton on August 6. ($1 = 0.8437 pounds)
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