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Napoli captain Kalidou Koulibaly appears to be moving to Chelsea with the same speed and ferocity he used when he hilariously pushed teammate Mario Rui into Kylian Mbappe.
Thomas Tuchel's side have reportedly agreed personal terms to sign the African Cup of Nations winning captain, agreeing a five-year deal believed to be worth around £160,000 per week. Koulibaly's alleged imminent arrival to Stamford Bridge will be a huge boost to the Blues, particularly as they have already seen Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger depart for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.
And Koulibaly's new defensive comrades, particularly Reece James and Ben Chilwell, can get a flavour of what to expect by watching his imperious display against Paris Saint-Germain in 2018. As well as watching a truly classy display from the 31-year-old, they can also discover what would happen if the experienced defender feels you are not close enough to your attacker.
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When confronted by a fit and firing Mbappe, most teams have to give extra special respect and commitment to the predatory Frenchman. Koulibaly, along with Napoli left-back Rui, looked to double up on the PSG ace when he got the ball in the wide areas.
Such is Mbappe's immense quality and speed, the slightest slip up or hesitation would likely lead to the World Cup winner bursting past you and firing into the back of the net. And after Rui allowed Mbappe to gain some very dangerous space outside the box, Koulibaly launched the Portuguese ace into the Frenchman to stop him gaining any further ground.
And it appeared to be a genius, if not highly unorthodox, bit of thinking, as Rui closed down the space instantly and took Mbappe by surprise. And the likes of Chilwell may have to start practicing their balancing skills, as they may be hurled into the likes of Mohamed Salah and Erling Haaland.
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Fortunately for his new teammates, Koulibaly does not usually need to go to such extreme lengths to protect his goal. He is one of the most experienced defenders on the planet, having made 317 appearances for Napoli, 26 of which were in the Champions League.
As well as his obvious physical stature, he will bring composure, calm, and organisation to a defence that could also lose Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso. However, Koulibaly could also be followed through the Stamford Bridge door by the likes of Manchester City defender Nathan Ake.
Reports from Fabrizio Romano understand the Blues have already agreed personal terms with their former academy player. He would be the second player to move to west London from the Premier League champions after Raheem Sterling nears a £50m transfer to the west Londoners.
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- Chelsea FC
- Premier League
- Kylian Mbappe
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