Chelsea step up transfer interest in Koulibaly and have ‘no problem’ meeting Napoli’s £34m asking price for defender

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CHELSEA reportedly have “no problem” meeting Napoli’s £34million asking price for defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

The Blues are on the lookout for defensive reinforcements after losing both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen this summer.

Chelsea are reportedly prepared to match Napoli's valuation of Kalidou Koulibaly

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Chelsea are reportedly prepared to match Napoli’s valuation of Kalidou KoulibalyCredit: AFP

And the Blues are now thought to have stepped up their interest in Napoli defender Koulibaly, 31.

Chelsea are prepared to stump up the £34m Napoli are asking for to part ways with the defender, according to Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport.

Koulibaly is out of contract with the Serie A side at the end of next season, meaning this summer is Napoli’s last chance to demand a sizeable fee.

Juventus are also understood to be keen on the Senegalese ace, with Matthijs de Ligt linked with both Chelsea and Bayern Munich.

But in a boost to the Blues it’s claimed Koulibaly would not play for another Serie A club out of loyalty to Napoli.

Although Barcelona are also reported to be keen on his signature.

Napoli boss Luciano Spaletti is claimed to be so desperate to keep his star man that he will resign if his side cash in on him.

The centre-back has spent the last eight years in Naples, playing over 300 times for the club.

Chelsea are rumoured to be in negotiations over a move for Manchester City defender Nathan Ake, as well as keeping tabs on De Ligt.

They could also go back in for Sevilla ace Jules Kounde, who has been a long-term target.

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But Koulibaly, who led Senegal to Africa Cup of Nations glory earlier this year, is also on the agenda.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis admitted last month that they cannot force the defender to stay.

He said: “He is a symbol of Napoli, and if he wants to no longer be a symbol, he must decide.

“We must decide. We want Koulibaly to stay, but people can’t be forced to stay.

“Everyone has their own dignity and needs. We respect everyone.”

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