Antonio Conte identified the 26-year-old as his primary defensive target as soon as he moved to Stamford Bridge in 2016.
At the time, Napoli refused to sell and in spite of constant Chelsea pressure, easily resisted the temptation to take the easy route out by selling the Senegal international. Now, however, there is a willingness on their part to come to the negotiating table giving Chelsea hope that a deal in the region of £60m could be struck. Compared to the fees Manchester City paid last summer, it represents outstanding value for money.
Koulibaly scored the winner in Turin last weekend as Napoli blew the Serie A title race wide open with a 1 – 0 win over Juventus. It would be a fitting finale to his Partenopei career.
Despite the attention, Koulibaly is resolute in his determination to postpone all talks over his future until the end of the season.
Doubts remain whether Conte will be boss to welcome Koulibaly to Stamford Bridge. Persistent rumours abound that Roman Abramovich is keen to make a change at the helm but is deterred by a £9m compensation payment Conte would be due.