Kim Min-jae Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea), a senior at SSC Napoli, is in danger of being released from Chelsea after a year.스포츠토토
British media ‘Evening Standard’ reported on the 12th (Korean time), “Chelsea defender Kalidu Koulibaly is a player recently targeted by Saudi Arabia.”
The media, citing Italian journalist Rudy Galetti, explained that “Al Ittihad approached Koulibaly, who moved to Chelsea for a large transfer fee last summer but was struggling.”
“The Saudi Arabian club also wants Sergio Ramos,” he added. “Juventus have recently admitted that they are interested in Koulibaly.”
Before moving to Chelsea, Koulibaly was one of the best defenders in Europe. Koulibaly, who played 317 games for eight years at Napoli, was evaluated as a flawless defender, excelling in all aspects, including physical combat, speed, and defense.
As evidence of that, Koulibaly was selected as the Serie A Best 11 for four consecutive seasons from the 2015/16 season and won the league best defender award in the 2018/19 season.
Many big European clubs wanted world-class defender Koulibaly, but Napoli demanded an astronomical transfer fee, so they had to wait. Eventually, with only one year left on the contract, Koulibaly moved to Chelsea for a transfer fee of £32.35 million (approximately 52.4 billion won) last summer and entered the Premier League.
Despite moving to Chelsea with high expectations, Koulibaly had a hard time adjusting to his new club and league.
During the 2022/23 season, Koulibaly appeared in 32 matches in all competitions, including 23 league matches, and played a total of 2,549 minutes as Chelsea’s main defender, but it was difficult to see that he played up to his reputation.
Even with Koulibaly’s arrival, Chelsea’s defense did not develop much. In the end, Koulibaly’s failure to live up to fans and expectations did not prevent Chelsea from finishing the season in a disappointing 12th place.
After a lackluster debut season, some speculated that Koulibaly could leave Chelsea after only a year. In addition to this, Al Ittihad, who recruited Karim Benzema, increased the possibility of a transfer while keeping a close eye on the Koulibaly situation.
On the other hand, as Koulibaly is expected to leave for the Middle East a year after entering the Premier League, it was compared to the situation of Naples junior Kim Min-jae.
Napoli recruited Kim Min-jae as a replacement after Koulibaly left for Chelsea. Many fans doubted whether Min-jae Kim could fill the void left by Koulibaly, but Min-jae Kim performed well beyond expectations and led the team to the Serie A championship, which was not achieved even when Koulibaly was there.
Min-jae Kim, who was selected as the league’s best defender as he became the main player in winning Serie A in the 2022/23 season, is currently being courted by big European clubs, including Manchester United.
The situation between Koulibaly and his replacement Kim Min-jae has changed 180 degrees in just one year, reminding fans of the phrase ‘no one knows the future’.