Chelsea ‘will be more than willing’ to sanction Kalidou Koulibaly’s exit if he continues to be unhappy and underperforming, journalist Simon Phillips has told GiveMeSport.
The 31-year-old only arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer but has struggled to settle in his new surroundings, resulting in him being linked with a move away in recent weeks.
Chelsea news – Kalidou Koulibaly
After years of speculation, Koulibaly finally departed former club Napoli in July, joining Chelsea in a deal worth around £33 million following the arrival of Todd Boehly.
However, the Senegal international has so far been unable to find his best form in west London and recent reports suggest his days in the capital could already be numbered.
The Evening Standard has claimed that the centre-back heads a bunch of fringe players who may be offloaded in the summer following Chelsea’s January spending spree.
Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Edouard Mendy are also listed among the potential casualties, with Graham Potter’s charges set to miss out on next season’s Champions League.
Koulibaly still has three and a half years left to run on his £300,000-per-week contract, though, so offloading him may prove to be a difficult task.
What has Phillips said about Koulibaly?
Phillips told GMS: “I do think that if Koulibaly is unhappy and stays unhappy, and he still can’t settle for the rest of the season, then Chelsea will be more than willing to let him move on.
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“He’s been receiving interest already from Italian clubs to go back to Serie A, and I’ve been told that replacing Milan Skriniar at Inter Milan could be one of the cards on the table for Koulibaly in the summer.
“But obviously, there is a long way to go yet, and there’s some decisions to be made on both sides.”
How has Koulibaly been playing?
Koulibaly has made 20 appearances for Chelsea so far this season across all competitions, scoring two goals and putting up some distinctly average underlying numbers.
As per WhoScored, the 6 foot 1 ace has won just 1.6 aerial duels while making 1.8 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, and 0.2 blocks per Premier League outing, placing him outside the top four for each metric when compared to his teammates.
Winter signing Benoît Badiashile has replaced Koulibaly in Chelsea’s starting XI in recent weeks due to his below-par performances at the heart of defence.
A return to Italian football appears to be a likely option for Koulibaly at this moment in time, but things could change between now and the summer window reopening for business.
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