koulibaly chelsea

Kalidou Koulibaly has insisted that he ‘didn’t hesitate’ in signing for Chelsea as he felt the time was right to leave Napoli after eight happy years in the Serie A.

The Senegalese defender completed his £34million move to Stamford Bridge last week and is excited at the prospect of becoming a leading figure in Thomas Tuchel’s Blues team.

Koulibaly, who recently joined up with his new team-mates on their pre-season tour of America, also revealed how close he came to joining Chelsea in 2016 only for the move not to come to fruition.

Speaking to Chelsea’s official website, Koulibaly said: ‘I spent eight years in Napoli, everyone knew me there and we were happy living in Naples.

‘After eight years, I felt it was time for a new challenge and as soon as Chelsea called, I didn’t hesitate. It almost happened before in 2016 but now, in 2022, I’m delighted to be here.

‘I’m very happy and excited to be here and to join up with the team in America. I was in London a few days ago to sort everything out and now I’m here, I’m so excited to play for this club.

‘Now I’m a Chelsea player, I just want to thank everyone for making this happen. The staff, the coach for wanting me and all the boys for making me feel so welcome. Already, I feel at home.’

The centre back was delighted to see some familiar faces like Jorginho and compatriot Edouard Mendy after joining his new team-mate Stateside – and reveals how they were in constant contact as he edged closer to completing a move.

‘I speak a lot with them both,’ Koulibaly added. ‘Jorgi actually texted me and asked if I wanted to come to Chelsea! At the time, I wasn’t sure if they wanted me but of course, I said I would come with pleasure.

‘It was the same with Edou, he asked me the question and I told him it was already done and I would see him soon! Now I’m here, I’m really happy to start this exciting journey.

‘The squad looks great with a good mix of younger players and those with more experience.’

Koulibaly spoke about his desire to link up with his new team-mates immediately but was made to wait for the paperwork to be complete.

‘I wanted to pass my medical and get out to the pre-season tour in America as soon as possible but these things take a little bit of time’, he added.

‘There was a lot of paperwork and documents to sort out first, so I did a lot of walking around the hotel on my own to kill time while I waited for the news to come in that it was done!

‘I spoke a lot with the manager and with my family and I’m just really happy, because I made a big decision to come to Chelsea. I wanted to test myself in the greatest league in the world and I want to thank everyone for giving me this chance.’

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