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the end of Neapolitan ambitions? / Italy / Naples / SOFOOT.com

The transfer for the next four seasons of Kalidou Koulibaly, pillar of the Neapolitan defense, is about to be formalized by Chelsea. A departure that looks like a big brake for the last ambitions of Napoli in view of the importance of the 31-year-old Senegalese in Campania. On the London side, this arrival lays the foundations for a summer that should be less complicated than expected.

You have to believe that the elevator concept is a tradition transmitted by FC Metz to its players. Passed by the club at the cross of Lorraine during an era even less glorious than that which the Garnets are preparing to live (with a descent into National in 2012), Kalidou Koulibaly knows only one meaning: the climb. So, after Genk and Napoli, the 31-year-old Senegalese is set to leave what looks increasingly like a quagmire in the southern Italian side to join Chelsea. Still in danger a few months ago, the Londoners are green again after the already formalized arrival of Raheem Sterling and at the same time send to waltz all the rumors that promised them hell this summer after the departure of Roman Abramovich. Still in the race Shieldthem Partenopei they will once again be forced to revise their ambitions downwards.

A K for two

For several weeks now, the outcome seemed inevitable in Campania. At the end of the contract next summer, the double K, 317 games on the clock with the Neapolitans, was obviously not satisfied by the various proposals made by Aurelio de Laurentiis and Cristiano Guintoli. However, at the end of May, Luciano Spalletti intended to preserve the Senegalese rock: “Koulibaly, in my opinion, is not for sale, just like last season when I threatened to chain myself to the gates if he was sold. I start again ! » In the process, the Mister had even been downright complimentary towards his defender, unless it was a pleading directly addressed to his president: “He is a player who is always ready to lend a hand, he knows where to intervene and how to raise the level. He always does the right thing. We want to live another important season, so it cannot be sold. People say we can have a younger player, but you can’t buy a leader who has grown here for so many years, who lives and breathes the city and brings that passion back to the pitch. »

An effort ultimately in vain since De Laurentiis did not treat Koulibaly as he would undoubtedly have deserved. Instead, the owner of Partenopei preferred to put pressure on his player. “It is he who must decide if he wants to be a symbol of Naplesrocked ADL at the end of the season. I can’t force anyone to stay, everyone has their needs. We respect everyone. I never forced anyone to stay when they wanted to leave even if their contract didn’t expire. » A way, more or less elegant, to make his captain understand that he would not revise his proposal upwards, quite the contrary. Even if it means compromising the future of a club which will undoubtedly find it difficult to recover from this departure. Especially since the Vosges is not the only one to bear the brunt of this management, to say the least, on the part of De Laurentiis. Before him, and just this summer, David Ospina, Dries Mertens, the club’s top scorer, and Lorenzo Insigne, the Napoli kid who became an icon, had also not been selected. Between them, they perfectly symbolize this step back from a Napoli who nevertheless fought until the end, or almost, for the title this year and who will now have to lower their ambitions.

Todd to life

With the difference that Koulibaly should still bring a nice check for around forty million euros to his former club. It is still necessary that Guintoli and De Laurentiis make good use of it. The first names mentioned to replace the Senegalese, Leo Østigård and Kim Min-jae, also targeted by Rennes, are frankly not of the same caliber as KK. In addition to bailing out the coffers of Partenopei, far from being the most in financial difficulty in Serie A, Chelsea take the opportunity to send a message. After losing Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen, both of whom left for the other side of the Pyrenees, and before possibly saying goodbye, or rather adiosto the indestructible César Azpilicueta, the Blues strengthen a sector that has been considerably weakened in recent weeks. In addition to the Koulibaly opportunity, other big names are also circulating – Presnel Kimpembe and Nathan Ake are mentioned – to solidify the defense of the club now led by Todd Boehly. More importantly, with the arrival of Raheem Sterling as well, the residents of Stamford Bridge demonstrate that their ambitions remain intact. Unlike those of Napoli which, after letting the train from Shield this season, now seems doomed to stay at the dock.

By Florian Porta

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