Premier League • England

Senior Chelsea star ‘doesn’t convince’ Graham Potter as £35m Ligue 1 replacement edges closer

Graham Potter on the Chelsea touchline

A second source has talked up the possibility of Kalidou Koulibaly leaving Chelsea, as the defender ‘doesn’t convince’ Graham Potter.

Following years of being linked with a Premier League move, Koulibaly finally arrived in England during the summer transfer window. Chelsea spent a reported £33million to sign him from Napoli on a four-year contract.

The centre-back arrived at Stamford Bridge as a replacement for Antonio Rudiger, following his switch to Real Madrid.

Koulibaly was always going to have a tough time replicating Rudiger’s impact, given how influential he had been for Chelsea. But Blues fans were hoping he had the ability to do it given his impressive performances in Italy with Napoli.

Unfortunately for Koulibaly, he has not impressed at Chelsea. He has struggled to keep up with the pace of the Premier League and looks a shadow of his Napoli self.

Potter has done some experimenting with his defence, and this hasn’t helped Koulibaly either. The Senegalese has been left on the bench during Premier League games against Crystal Palace and Arsenal.

Koulibaly will believe he has the experience and ability to turn things around at Chelsea. But he might not get that opportunity.

According to a recent report from Italian outlet La Repubblica, Chelsea could part ways with him in January and Inter Milan are looking into the possibility of a deal. Their boss, Simone Inzaghi, is apparently ‘a big fan’ of Koulibaly.

Kalidou Koulibaly on Inter radar

And now, a second source in the form of Sport Mediaset journalist Marco Barzaghi has weighed in on the Koulibaly to Inter rumours.

During a recent interview, the reporter said Koulibaly hasn’t ‘fully convinced’ those at Chelsea that he warrants a starting place. And now an Inter move could be beckoning.

“In defence we [Inter] don’t think only of [Giorgio] Scalvini. Koulibaly could be included in the discussions with Chelsea because he didn’t fully convince in his English adventure,” Barzaghi said (via Sport Witness).

“For Inzaghi, it would be a reinforcement of great strength and capable of being able to command the defence for several years.”

To make matters worse for the 31-year-old, Chelsea are on the verge of bringing in a new player in his position.

As per David Ornstein, the Blues are hoping to sign Benoit Badiashile and are in talks with Monaco over his capture.

Fabrizio Romano adds that the move could be worth up to €40m (just over £35m). Badiashile is left-footed. This means he is in a good position to replace Koulibaly on the left side of the back three, should his Chelsea transfer go ahead.

It is no surprise that Koulibaly hasn’t convinced his manager. He hasn’t shown what he is about yet, as it is taking him time to adjust to the English game.

Nevertheless, Chelsea will likely stick with Koulibaly. Both Potter and Koulibaly himself will believe he can turn things around.

Badiashile may well be arriving in west London next month. But Chelsea could be looking at him as a long-term successor for Koulibaly, rather than as his immediate replacement.

Elsewhere, Chelsea are plotting a loan move for a top Man Utd and Arsenal target.