Kalidou Koulibaly turned down Napoli’s £51million offer to sign for Chelsea, club president Aurelio De Laurentiis has claimed.
The Serie A club reluctantly accepted the defender’s desire to leave for the Premier League having insisted that a summer move to Barcelona was not on the cards.
Chelsea signed Koulibaly for £33m earlier this month on a reported £162,000-a-week deal, the Senegal star having been offered £195,000 as a weekly wage by Napoli – taking home £5.5m-a-year after tax.
De Laurentiis told Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli: “I let Koulibaly go because he told me he still has a few years of playing ahead of him.
“I replied that he couldn’t go to Barcelona because Barcelona don’t have the money, they are in trouble.
“Then Chelsea came forward, to which we could not say no. With Koulibaly for about a month and a half I insisted, also offering him £5.5million net for five seasons, about £51m gross.
“But if a player wants to go for another experience, at a prestigious club like Chelsea, in a top league like the Premier League, one must also be grateful and cannot hide behind a no.”