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Is Koulibaly an upgrade over Rudiger and Christensen for Chelsea?

Long-serving Napoli stalwart Kalidou Koulibaly is on the verge of completing his £34million move to Premier League heavyweights Chelsea.

Accompanied by his agent Fali Ramadani, the 31-year-old centre-back flew out from Milan’s Linate Airport in a private jet and touched down in London on Wednesday evening.

Football Daily took to Twitter on Thursday morning to publish the video portraying the highly-rated defender at an airport in London ahead of his long-awaited move to Stamford Bridge.

Following five years of continuous links with several household Premier League sides, the Senegal international is closing in on swapping Serie A for England.

Koulibaly is expected to undergo his medicals today before putting pen to paper on a five-year contract that will earn him a massive £300,000 per week.

If everything goes according to plan, the Senegalese star will fill in his paperwork before departing for the United States to link up with his new Chelsea teammates for pre-season.

He could make his debut for Thomas Tuchel’s side as early as Saturday when the Blues take on Mexican outfit Club America at the Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas.

Koulibaly won’t be the only defensive reinforcement at the Bridge this summer after Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen left London to join Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively.

Tuchel’s depleted defence requires further additions, with Chelsea reportedly vying for the signatures of Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe.

How good is Koulibaly?

After a mistake-plagued two-year stint at last season’s Ligue 1 relegation boys Metz between 2012-14, Kouliably left France to get his career up and running in Belgium.

He hit the ground running at Genk, quickly establishing as a first-team regular and gaining broad plaudits for his aerial strength, tackling and passing ability. 

From that point onwards, the Senegalese centre-back’s career has been on an upward spiral as he left Genk after 92 appearances for the club to team up with Napoli in 2014.

The Partenopei dashed out £6.5m to acquire Koulibaly’s services eight years ago in one of the best pieces of business under the ownership of Aurelio De Laurentiis.

During his stellar eight-year spell at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, the towering defender clocked up 317 outings for Napoli, registering 14 goals and eight assists. 

For years, Koulibaly has been one of the most highly-rated centre-backs in Serie A, with his defensive prowess, interceptive work and leadership skills making him stand out among his peers in Italy. 

Chelsea tried to prise him away from Napoli in 2018 when Maurizio Sarri took Jorginho over to London after swapping allegiances. 

However, the Italians acted quickly to tie their star down to a new contract and shift power straight back into their own hands, knocking back Manchester United’s £95m bid the following December.

Koulibaly has gone from strength to strength over the past four years, repaying Napoli’s trust by helping them to two top-four finishes in that span. 

With all due respect to Christiansen and Rudiger, the new Chelsea signing appears to be an immediate upgrade on each. 

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