Barcelona could not compete financially with Chelsea for Koulibaly, says De Laurentiis

By Sports Desk July 23, 2022

Barcelona could not compete financially with Chelsea for the signing of centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, according to Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Chelsea confirmed the signing of Koulibaly last weekend in a deal worth a reported £33.8million (€40m), bringing an end to the defender's eight-year stay in Naples.

LaLiga heavyweights Barca, whose financial problems have been well documented over the past year, also had an interest in the Senegal international.

However, De Laurentiis claims the Catalan club could not meet Napoli's valuation for Koulibaly, who was into the final year of his contract at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

"Barcelona had come in, but they didn't have the money because they are in debt," he told Radio Kiss Kiss. "Then Chelsea came forward and we couldn't say no."

Koulibaly helped Napoli to three second-place finishes in Serie A and to Coppa Italia glory in 2020, as well as winning the Supercoppa Italiana shortly after he arrived in Italy.

Since joining the club in 2014, no defender in the Italian top flight has won more tackles than Koulibaly (344), or made more successful passes (14,528).

De Laurentiis revealed Napoli offered the 31-year-old an improved contract in an attempt to fend off Chelsea.

"I let Koulibaly go because he asked me to. I tried in every possible way to keep him, offering €6million per season net," De Laurentiis said.

"But if a player wants a new experience at a prestigious club, in the biggest league in the world, you have to recognise what he's given you and not put up walls."

Koulibaly made 236 Serie A appearances for Napoli, including 27 as the Partenopei finished third last season.

Related items

  • Lino: Final-day win at Sociedad a big boost for Atletico Lino: Final-day win at Sociedad a big boost for Atletico

    Samuel Lino believes Atletico Madrid's final-day victory over Real Sociedad will provide them with a timely boost heading into next season.

    Diego Simeone's side ran out 2-0 winners at Reale Arena in their final match of the 2023-24 campaign. Lino opened the scoring after just nine minutes, while Reinildo sealed the points in second-half stoppage time.

    However, despite a fourth-place finish in LaLiga, it brought the curtain down on a third successive trophyless season for Atleti, who will finish at least 18 points adrift of champions Real Madrid.

    Los Rojiblancos fell to Borussia Dortmund following a 5-4 aggregate defeat in the Champions League quarter-finals, while they were soundly beaten by Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

    But Lino, who had his fourth direct goal involvement in three appearances (one goal, three assists), thinks a hard-earned win against their sixth-place opponents - a fourth success in five games - will give him and his team-mates positive momentum to build on next season.

    "It was an important victory to finish the season well," he told Movistar Plus. "We were good, focused, played a good game and that's what we wanted.

    "Overall, we were not within the club's objectives, but we finished well, and now we have to switch off. A win away from home could help us to come back strong next season."

  • Real Sociedad 0-2 Atletico Madrid: Simeone's men end LaLiga campaign with three points Real Sociedad 0-2 Atletico Madrid: Simeone's men end LaLiga campaign with three points

    Atletico Madrid ended their LaLiga campaign with a 2-0 win at Real Sociedad on Saturday thanks to a first-half strike by Brazilian winger Samuel Lino and a stoppage-time Reinildo tap-in.

    Atletico, who had already secured fourth place and a spot in next season's Champions League, finished the season on 76 points, 11 ahead of Athletic Bilbao in fifth.

    Meanwhile, sixth-placed La Real have qualified for the Europa League.

    Runaway champions Real Madrid are top of the standings on 94 points, 12 points ahead of second-placed Barcelona and 13 clear of Girona in third.

    Atletico took the lead in the ninth minute after Marcos Llorente burst up the right wing and delivered a low cross to the far post for Lino, who netted with a tidy finish past Alex Remiro.

    Remiro and Atletico's keeper Jan Oblak made several saves before Atletico were reduced to 10 men after Saul Niguez was shown a second yellow card in the 92nd minute.

    In the last move of the match, Atletico secured the three points on a counter-attack led by Alvaro Morata, who delivered a perfectly placed cross for substitute Reinildo to tap into the empty net.

    Data debrief

    Diego Simeone's men ended the campaign with four wins in their last five league outings, and their performance was very much worth the three points against La Real.

    Atletico accumulated 2.31 xG (expected goals) to the hosts' 0.59, scoring their 10th and 11th goals in their last six matches to end the season on a high.

  • Ten Hag urges patience on Mainoo after FA Cup final strike Ten Hag urges patience on Mainoo after FA Cup final strike

    Erik ten Hag wants people to be patient with Kobbie Mainoo, despite the Manchester United youngster quickly developing into a star.

    Mainoo's meteoric rise reached its highest peak yet as he netted in Saturday's FA Cup final against Manchester City, with his fine finish and Alejandro Garnacho's goal nine minutes prior ensuring United claimed a 2-1 victory over their rivals to lift the trophy.

    Mainoo, aged just 19 years and 36 days, was the first English teenager to find the back of the net in an FA Cup final since 1981, while he is also the youngest to do so since John Sissons for West Ham in 1964.

    Mainoo's cup final goal came in the same week he was named in Gareth Southgate's 33-man provisional squad for Euro 2024, and he looks a surefire bet to be on the plane to Germany next month.

    Yet, Ten Hag believes people mustn't expect too much, too soon from the midfielder.

    "I think we have to keep it calm," Ten Hag told the BBC. "You are very good here in England to push players and managers very high, and then you hammer them after one or two bad performances. I think we need to keep it very calm.

    "He was [magnificent]. It was really so enjoyable to watch Kobbie at his age.

    "But he's also an example [of problems]. We wanted to play him in the second game [of the season], but then he got a bad injury. It was a long time until he came back."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.