Chelsea manager should sign defender Mathijs de Ligt instead of Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, according to Italian football legend Alessandro Del Piero.
The Blues need to reinforce their rear-guard this summer having lost both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers, leaving them with just Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sang as recognised first-team centre-half options.
Koulibaly has been at Napoli for eight years since signing from Belgian club Genk, and has consistently been one of European football’s most consistent centre-backs since then, combining impressive positioning and physicality with quality on the ball.
With just a year left on his current contract, the 31-year-old could be available for a cut-price fee and the Blues are now weighing up whether to make a move using the finances of new owner Todd Boehly, according to .
22-year-old De Ligt, meanwhile, signed for Juventus from Ajax in 2019 after impressing in the Dutch club’s run to the UEFA Champions League semi-final under new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag’s leadership.
De Ligt was signed in order to help Juventus transition to a new era with its playing squad, but the team has struggled in the past few seasons, and its decade of dominance in Serie A has come to an end. Now the player has reportedly told the club’s hierarchy that he wants to leave.
For World Cup winner Del Piero, De Ligt has the potential to become a much better player than his form in Turn has suggested thus far.
‘I think De Ligt has more pace and more potential than he has shown until now,’ Del Piero told . ‘He is playing a different way in Italy in terms of the system, in a line of four. How you address things [defensively] we do a little bit differently in Italy than in the Premier League.
‘He also has the potential in physicality. He is strong, he is fast, and has no fear at all. That’s why it could be a good move for .’
While Koulibaly is also rated highly by Del Piero, the Juventus legend believes De Ligt’s youth makes him the more attractive proposition.
‘On the other side, Koulibaly is kind of perfect at this time, because of his age. He’s 31, he knows what to do. But if you want to buy a player, go for the youngest one, because you have more time to spend [improving him].’
The Blues are also said negotiating a deal with Manchester City for Nathan Ake, who was a Chelsea player until 2017, as they also look to secure the signing of Raheem Sterling and potentially Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Sevilla’s Jules Kounde has been heavily linked with the Blues for a year, and is also on their list of potential signings this summer.
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