The Truth Behind Chelsea Besting Barcelona in Koulibaly Race

The Kalidou Koulibaly transfer saga came to a close earlier this month after Premier League heavyweights Chelsea struck a blockbuster deal to onboard him for €40M, amid interest from a host of clubs including Juventus and Spanish giants Barcelona.

His strong allegiances to the Partenopei made Turin a distasteful destination to continue his career. Whereas, the Blaugrana ultimately failed to produce the finances required to strike the deal. As per Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, Barcelona never stood a chance to sign him, with the executive himself conveying the message to the defender citing ‘lack of money’ as the reason.

Speaking to Radio Kiss Kiss (via TuttoNapoli), the chairman disclosed the truth behind Barcelona and Chelsea dueling to capture Koulibaly.

“I let Koulibaly go because he told me he has just a few years ahead of him. I told him that he couldn’t go to Barcelona because they don’t have the money. They are in trouble. Then Chelsea came forward, to which we could not say no.”

Despite offering the Senegalese a heightened offer, he declined to stay put.

“With Koulibaly, for about a month and a half I insisted, even offering him €6.5M net for five seasons, which is about sixty million gross. But if a player wants a new experience, in a prestigious club like Chelsea, in one of the world’s top leagues like the Premier, one must be grateful and cannot hide behind a no.”

The 31-year-old center-back was linked with a move to Chelsea back in 2016, but instead held his position strong at San Paolo – turning himself into a fan favorite.