Napoli chief Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed Chelsea did have a huge bid for Kalidou Koulibaly rejected before they re-signed David Luiz.
The 25-year-old Senegalese centre-back was one of Antonio Conte’s top targets over the summer as he tried to strengthen his defence, yet he was ultimately unable to break Napoli’s resolved despite submitting an offer in the region of £42million.
De Laurentiis told reporters: “Chelsea came in and offered €50m for Koulibaly, but he’s going away for the African Cup of Nations, which pollutes the national Leagues and is another load of FIFA nonsense.
“That’s why we took [Lorenzo] Tonelli and [Nikola] Maksimovic to strengthen that area.”
De Laurentiis also reiterated his stance on striker Manolo Gabbiadini, who was subject to strong interest from Everton.
He added: “As for Gabbiadini, he’s unsellable, he is in tune with Maurizio Sarri and we believe our coach can get even more out of him.”