Chelsea target Kalidou Koulibaly has said that he expects talks with Antonio Conte soon as he considers a departure from Napoli.
Koulibaly is one of a number of centre-backs on an extensive wish list at Stamford Bridge that also includes Everton’s John Stones, Roma pair Kostas Manolas and Antonio Rudiger (who could miss all of next season with a cruciate ligament tear) and Leonardo Bonucci of Juventus.
The 24-year-old, whose contract at Napoli has three years to run, earned widespread acclaim last season for his staunch defensive performance and hopes to be rewarded with improved terms at the Stadio San Paolo. But with no new contract offer forthcoming the Senegal international is keen to test his worth elsewhere.
“I’ll make a choice that is most favourable to me, not only financially but also on pitch,” he told L’Equipe. “Big clubs want to sign me and there is no sign of a renewal with Napoli.
“The negotiation for a contract extension is stalled. They never wanted to talk with us.”
Asked whether he had spoken to Conte about a move to the Premier League he said: “I have not talked to him but that may change soon. If nothing happens at Napoli, I will start to have contact with other clubs.
“The game in England could be suitable for me but I like Italy. I’m not pressing for a transfer but I hope to sign a renewal with Napoli or we [will] proceed to other solutions.
“Napoli also wants to make money.”
Koulibaly’s current side are believed to have ignored Chelsea’s interest in the defender, though Conte has made acquisitions in defence a top priority.
The incoming Chelsea manager, who will formally begin work at Stamford Bridge after Italy’s Euro 2016 campaign is over, has already submitted a list of targets to Chelsea, many coming from Serie A.
High on that list is Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan. The Belgian international has been urged to move to Chelsea by his compatriots Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois and has admitted he faces a “big decision” over his future in Serie A.
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