Aurelio De Laurentiis confirms Chelsea's late bid for Kalidou Koulibaly

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Chelsea may have ended up bringing David Luiz back to the club on transfer deadline day in August but it was pretty obvious that the Brazilian wasn't Antonio Conte's preferred centre-back signing.

Conte had earmarked defence as a key area to improve early on in his tenure at Stamford Bridge but saw the club's initial efforts to bring in reinforcements rebuffed.

Among their top summer targets was Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, however, they were unable to agree a fee with the Serie A side.

It was thought Chelsea's offer in July was initially in the region of £38 million, however, Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis has revealed the Blues didn't give up there and made a last-gasp bid - worth £20m more than their first attempt - at the end of the summer.

"They offered to me £30, 35, 40, 45, 50 [million]," De Laurentiis told Sky Sports.

"Mr. Conte I said, '[The] marina is behind me, follow me', I offered him that. Last moment, two days before the closing of the market, I hear £58 [million] - something like that."

Nevertheless, it wasn't enough to persuade Napoli to part company with the Senegalese international and Conte was forced to complete a late deal with Paris Saint-Germain for Luiz.

After the window closed in September, Koulibaly opted to sign an extended deal at his current side but De Laurentiis refused to rule out his possible departure in the future.

"Koulibaly I need here to make the match. I need to play, so I need the players. Koulibaly, this year, will remain here. Next year we will speak about," he added.

When asked to confirm Chelsea's £58m bid, De Laurentiis continued: "Yes. He will never say it is true because I know Antonio. Ciao Antonio."

So for the time being, Conte will have to make the most of what he currently has at his disposal.

Following a couple of unconvincing defensive performances of late, Saturday's win over Hull saw the Italian boss tweak his formation into a more favoured back-three and as a result, kept their first Premier League clean sheet this season.

It's clear Chelsea still rely heavily on veteran captain John Terry and despite Luiz's arrival, finding a long-term replacement must be one of Conte's top priorities for the upcoming windows.

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David Luiz
Premier League
Serie A
John Terry

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