Chelsea could face a real transfer embarrassment in January amid claims one of their summer signings will go back to the league he just came from.
Chelsea went big in the summer due to the demands of majority owner Todd Boehly. They spent a reported £250million, bringing in eight stars in the process. These were Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Carney Chukwuemeka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gabriel Slonina and Denis Zakaria.
Chelsea were in desperate need of a defensive revamp following the departures of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso. And this is exactly what they did with their huge spending.
Koulibaly and Fofana arrived from Napoli and Leicester respectively to replace Rudiger and Christensen. Cucurella, meanwhile, joined in a £63m deal from Brighton to replace Alonso and help give competition to Ben Chilwell at left wing-back.
Most of these transfers were made with then manager Thomas Tuchel in mind. Sadly for the Blues though, they endured a relatively poor start to the season and Tuchel was sacked on September 7. Reports claim Tuchel was also let go because he didn’t strike up a good relationship with the new owners.
Graham Potter soon arrived from Brighton as Tuchel’s replacement. And he is attempting to get the best out of these new players, even though they were signed for a different manager.
Koulibaly was a rock at the back for Napoli. However, he is not having that same impact in a Chelsea shirt.
He has put in several sub-par performances and appears to be struggling with the pace of the Premier League. And now, Chelsea could complete an embarrassing U-turn by selling the centre-half at the earliest opportunity.
Recent Chelsea signing a target for Inter Milan
According to football.london, who cite Italian source La Repubblica, there is an opportunity for Koulibaly to leave Stamford Bridge this January. Napoli’s Serie A rivals Inter Milan have taken an interest in signing him.
The Nerazzurri will be in need of a new defensive enforcer if Milan Skriniar departs. He is a target for the likes of Tottenham and Newcastle as his contract expires at the end of the season.
Inter view Koulibaly as a great potential replacement for Skriniar. And their manager, Simone Inzaghi, is apparently ‘a big fan’ of the Chelsea player.
Chelsea are already in contact with Inter due to the Romelu Lukaku situation. He is partway through a season-long loan back at Inter from Chelsea, though the deal could be made permanent in the near future.
A return to Italy might be enticing for Koulibaly, given his Chelsea struggles. But it is hard to see this move going through. After all, the Senegal international has a strong mentality and will want to ensure his time in England becomes successful.
He will probably reject all offers in January to stay at Chelsea and turn things around. This would be a big help to Potter, as his job has come under pressure amid Chelsea’s disappointing form before the World Cup.