First season at Chelsea a bust…will he follow Ronaldo-Benzema into ‘oil money’?

Central defender Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea), a living legend at Napoli who has failed to establish himself at Chelsea and has been linked with a move away from the club, could be heading to Saudi Arabia for a hefty sum of ‘oil money’.

The British newspaper ‘Daily Mail’ quoted French-based media outlet ‘Sports Zone’ as saying on the 13th (KST), ‘Koulibaly could leave for Al Ittihad. An offer is believed to have been made recently.

Koulibaly joined Chelsea last summer from Napoli in a £33 million (52.6 billion won) transfer. He was a longtime Napoli player and had been linked with a move away since the summer of 2021. Koulibaly stayed loyal and headed to Chelsea with the arrival of Kim Min-jae.

However, he had the worst time of his career. He was sacked by managers Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter and played under substitutes Benoit Salah and Frank Lampard, but he never looked at 100% of his best.

The arrival of Mauricio Pochettino presents a new opportunity for Koulibaly, but it also raises some questions. Pochettino prioritizes the central defender’s speed and ability to compete for aerial balls. He was a firm believer in the Toby Alderweireld-Jan Vertonghen system at Tottenham Hotspur.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund (PIF) has become the majority owner of Newcastle United with an 80 percent stake in the club, as well as owning a number of teams in their own league, and has been snapping up players who have played in Europe’s major leagues. Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nasr) played a season and Karim Benzema left Real Madrid to don the colors of Al Ittihad.

Al Ittihad is another club that wants Koulibaly. Known as the Saudi tigers, Al Ittihad are a perennial finalist in the Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL).

‘Al Ittihad seems to be the favorite to land Koulibaly, but the player could go elsewhere if he wants,’ the source said. Koulibaly is open to transfer discussions for now. In other words, he’s ready to leave Chelsea.

As well as Coulibaly, N’Golo Kante, known as the ‘cute central midfielder’, is also open to a move to the Etihad. With Chelsea accelerating their squad overhaul by clearing out the squad and reinvesting heavily, Koulibaly could be one of the players to go, depending on the circumstances.메이저사이트

Koulibaly is contracted to Chelsea until the summer of 2026, but Juventus have been rumored to be interested throughout the season. However, a return to Serie A would not change the fact that Coulibaly is still a Napoli player, so a move to Juventus is unlikely. A move to Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, would be attractive given the longevity of the player and the huge salary. Coulibaly is torn between the money and the will to survive in the big leagues.

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