Chelsea may have taken six points from six in their first two games of the Premier League season, but their two last-gasp wins over West Ham and Watford don't paper over the cracks that are still there in Antonio Conte's squad.
The Italian manager is still keen on adding at least a couple of new faces before the transfer window slams shut and, with John Terry and Gary Cahill the only two fit centrebacks at the club right now, a defender has been made a priority.
Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli has been Chelsea's main target over the past few weeks. However, news out of France last night has effectively ended the Stamford Bridge club's hopes of bringing in the 25-year-old, £60 million-rated defender.
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According to L'Equipe reporter Bilel Ghazi, via The Telegraph this morning, Koulibaly is set to spurn Chelsea's interest and sign a new, long-term contract with Napoli.
Ghazi's tweet roughly translates to:
"K. Koulibaly will not go to PL . He should extend to Naples in the coming days until June 2021."
Considering Chelsea have been pursuing the French-born defender's signature for much of the summer, the news is a blow to Conte's plans to reinforce his options at the back, and leaves just over a week for the west London club to find a plan B before the window closes on August 31.
Only last week, it was reported by The Telegraph that Conte had prepared a club record bid of £60 million to bring Koulibaly to the Premier League.
Of course, until Napoli officially announces any such extension for the Senegalese international, Chelsea aren't out of the race altogether.
However, they would be wise to widen their search for a centreback if they aren't to leave themselves short over the next few months.
Although Kurt Zouma is working his way back to full fitness after a serious knee injury back in February, the Frenchman isn't expected back until late September at the earliest.
With Terry and Cahill boasting a combined age of 65, Conte won't want to have to wait until January to add some fresh talent to his defensive ranks if he is serious about mounting a title challenge.
One other name that has been doing the rounds over the past few days is Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus.
Although he too is is the wrong side of 30, his talent and experience would certainly be a solid addition to Chelsea's squad if the Koulibaly deal is officially dead in the water.
Chelsea fans: Who should your club sign before the window shuts? Let us know in the comments below...
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