Koulibaly wanted to join Chelsea much sooner but Napoli owner did not let him

Koulibaly wanted to join Chelsea much sooner but Napoli owner did not let him

Kalidou Koulibaly was close to signing for his current club Chelsea in 2015 but Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis did not allow him to leave the Serie A side at that time, the Senegal defender said in an interview published on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old, who captained Senegal to victory at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, joined the London side in July after eight seasons at Napoli.

Koulibaly said Antonio Conte – now at the helm of Tottenham Hotspur but manager at Chelsea at that time – had tried to sign him after his first year with Napoli.

“I asked respectfully to the owner that I wanted to leave for Chelsea but he told me that it wouldn’t be possible,” he told https://www.theguardian.com/football/2022/aug/03/i-had-to-wait-chelseas-koulibaly-on-realising-his-premier-league-dream?CMP=share_btn_tw the Guardian.

“So I waited a bit and continued my conversation with them but they really didn’t want me to leave the club so I decided to renew my contract to stay in Napoli.

“For me it was a bit hard to say no because it was my dream to play in the Premier League since I was a child.”

After realising his childhood dream, Koulibaly’s position at Chelsea meant his prospects of being in a trophy-winning team were stronger. Although Napoli came close to clinching the Serie A Scudetto under manager Maurizio Sarri, Koulibaly lifted only one Italian Cup trophy while at the club.

“With my personal experience, I know you don’t have to give a limit to your dream and my dream is to win everything with Chelsea,” he added.

“I know it will be difficult. I don’t come with arrogant behaviour. I come with respect, a lot of respect for everybody, but I know Chelsea is a big team and a team that has to win, that’s used to winning.”

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