Revealed: Chelsea made a series of outrageous bids for a Serie A defender this summer
Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis has revealed that Chelsea made numerous offers to sign defender Kalidou Koulibaly last summer and has claimed they failed with a lavish £58m offer in the final days of the transfer window.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte targeted a host of defensive players following his arrival at Stamford Bridge last summer, with his moves for AC Milan's Alessio Romagnoli, Juventus star Leonardo Bonucci and Paris Saint-Germain youngster Presnel Kimpembe believed to have been on his wanted list.
The comments of De Laurentiis suggest Chelsea were prepared to break their own transfer record to sign Koulibaly, with the figures he mentions coming as something of a surprise.
"They offered to me £30m, £35m, £40m, £45m, £50m," De Laurentiis told Sky Sports News HQ. "Last moment, two days before the closing of the market, I hear £58m - something like that."
Koulibaly eventually signed a new contract with Napoli that ties him to the Serie A club until 2021, but De Laurentiis admitted he may yet be sold before that deal expires.
"Koulibaly, this year, will remain here. Next year we will speak about," he added.
In the end, Chelsea's shock move to bring PSG defender David Luiz back to Stamford Bridge was a transfer deadline day compromise deal, yet there can be little doubt that the Brazilian was not Conte's first choice signing.
Luiz's performance at the start of his second spell at Chelsea have done little to back up the belief that he is the kind of rugged defender Conte has tended to work with throughout his career.
This may also suggest that Chelsea may return with fresh bids for Koulibaly in next summer's transfer scramble, if Conte is still in charge of the club by then.