Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick tock. A sound that generally comes to mind in the last minutes of an exam. However,this sound is quite likely stuck in the heads of the Chelsea board these days. Transfer deadline day is quickly approaching and Kalidou Koulibaly is not (yet!) a Chelsea player.
The good news that has surfaced is that Torino has signed veteran Italian center back Luca Rossettini. Why is this good news you ask? Well, Napoli has been badgering Torino to sign their center-back Nikola Maksimovic, in a very similar way to what we are doing with Napoli.
The Light Blues have taken it a bit farther than us and are counting on their target remaining in his home country of Serbia and not returning to Italy until he gets his move. All of this will be done presumably to replace a certain Koulibaly, who happens to be our biggest target (from both size and value prospectives) this summer. So basically, if Torino got their man, we’re likely to be getting ours.
Added to it would be the claims from the Telegraph’s Jason Burt, stating the following:
“Chelsea have made their move for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly – for what could be a club-record fee of £60 million – in an emphatic effort by manager Antonio Conte to strengthen his team.”
Now the figure in question is obviously ridiculous, especially considering that we have plenty of young defenders waiting on the fringes + Zouma and Christensen, who were supposed to be our future defensive partnership.
Nonetheless, our desperate need for a center-back might force our hands to drown Napoli with cash. It is also reassuring to know that it is most likely our new manager is the one pushing for the transfer and not our board our ownership (see Torres, Fernando. Also Shevchenko, Andriy)
Burt also predicted that Conte could use Koulibaly in a new 3-5-2, which would be new to us, not him obviously. This theory has been supported by many but I personally believe it is quite ridiculous, seeing that our two other fit center-backs are old, slow and quite simply past their prime, so the Senegalese is most likely to replace one of them. Not to mention that our team has no wing-backs and our best player (Hazard) cannot be fit into such a formation.
Regardless of how we play, we desperately need to sign someone for the heart of our defense and given the circumstances, Koullibaly is the best we can get right now. The fee will most likely not be so high, so I suggest we finalize it as soon as possible and maybe still have time to sign a left-back to replace Baba-Rahman.