In Brief

Chelsea to bid £53m for long-term target Kalidou Koulibaly

Blues close in on Napoli defender they tried and failed to sign last summer - all the latest Chelsea transfer news and gossip

All the focus of late has been on who Chelsea may bring in up front to replace the departing Diego Costa. But what about the back four and Antonio Conte's search for defensive reinforcements? 

According to Talksport, the Blues boss is "poised to make a bid in the region of £53m" for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. The 25-year-old was first linked with a move to Stamford Bridge last summer and it was said that the Serie A outfit rejected two bids from Chelsea for their Senegal stopper. But Talksport, citing Italian paper Corriere dello Sport as its source, says that the Premier League champions hope it will be third time lucky as they get set to table another bid. 

Napoli are anxious to keep hold of Koulibaly, who made 38 appearance for them last season, but Talksport predicts that club president Aurelio De Laurentiis "could have his head turned by Chelsea's latest advances", and the feeling in the Bridge is that this time they'll get their man.

Meanwhile, the future of Thibaut Courtois is once more under the spotlight after the goalkeeper failed to agree the terms of a new contract with the Blues. Metro reports that the Belgian gloveman was demanding £200,000-a-week in wages, to put him on the same salary as Manchester United keeper David de Gea. But that demand was kicked into touch by Chelsea who "feel in no rush to hand Courtois an increase given his deal expires in 2019". 

However, Metro report that Courtois "is likely to feel put out that the club are unwilling to meet his demands" and it is likely to increase speculation that he could look favourably on an approach from Real Madrid, who have been linked to him in recent months.

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