It’s been revealed that Barcelona have finally ‘run out of money’ after failing to hijack Chelsea ‘s transfer of Kalidou Koulibaly.
The Catalan side appear to have been linked with everyone this summer, and as far as transfer windows go, they’ve had one of the best. They’ve brought in Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha for a combined £90million, and also signed both Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen on free transfers.
But they’ve done so despite being short of finances, and the club have even sold some of their La Liga TV rights in order to help survive in the short-term. But Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed that Barcelona are now out of money, as they came in for Koulibaly at the last second.
Chelsea helped ease their defensive woes by signing highly rated centre-back Koulibaly from Napoli in a deal worth £33m. The club lost both Christensen and Antonio Rudiger this summer on free transfers and had been left short of central options.
But the Senegalese star has helped bolster Thomas Tuchel’s squad, but they did face late competition from Barcelona. The trend continues for Chelsea, as Barcelona also expressed interest in Raheem Sterling and Raphinha, who the Blues were trying to sign.
Chelsea won the race for Sterling, but Raphinha ended up moving to the Nou Camp as Leeds pocketed £49m plus add-ons for the Brazilian. But Napoli’s president revealed that he couldn’t sell Koulibaly to Barcelona as they had ‘no money’, meaning that their cash may have finally run out.
Napoli president de Laurentiis told Radio Kiss: “Koulibaly wanted to leave, I told him: I can’t sell you to Barcelona as they had no money. Then we received a formal proposal from Chelsea, it was impossible to say no. I offered £6.5m a season to Koulibaly, he wanted to go.”
Chelsea offered more than either Barcelona or Napoli ever could, and the defender has signed a four-year contract worth around £160,000 per week (£8.2m a year) net plus bonuses to move to Stamford Bridge. The Senegalese star only had one year remaining on his Napoli contract, and was also interested in a move to Juventus.
But the Africa Cup of Nations winner is happy to be at Chelsea, after he said following his move: “I’m very happy to be here with this team at Chelsea. It’s a big team in the world and my dream was always to play in the Premier League.”
However, it wasn’t the first time that Chelsea approached him. Koulibaly went on to reveal: “Chelsea came first to get me in 2016 but we didn’t make it. Now when they came to me I accepted it because they really wanted me to come to the Premier League to play for them.”
New co-owner Todd Boehly is extremely happy to have signed the defender, as he said: “Kalidou Koulibaly is one of the world’s elite defenders and we are delighted to be welcoming him to Chelsea. A great leader and an exemplary team player, Kalidou brings a wealth of experience and attributes that will benefit our squad and the club as a whole.”
Chelsea are still chasing further defensive targets, with the future of Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso unknown. They’ve been pursuing deals for French duo Jules Kounde and Prensel Kimpembe, but no agreement for either defender is in place.