Thomas Tuchel: Kalidou Koulibaly Has Everything Chelsea Are Looking For
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Thomas Tuchel has heaped praise on Chelsea’s latest signing Kalidou Koulibaly following his £34 million move from Napoli.
Having lost the services of central defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen already this window, gaps were left to fill at the back and the Blues were on the hunt for replacements.
Centre-back Koulibaly has joined the Blues on an initial four-year-deal following an eight year long stay in Italy with Napoli.
The signing of Koulibaly could be the first of multiple signings the west London side make to strengthen the defence.
While Chelsea have been dealt blows in their pursuits of Nathan Ake and Matthijs de Ligt, the Blues are still linked with moves for Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe and Sevilla defender Jules Kounde.
Tuchel is keen to have a much improved backline, speaking to Sky Sports previous to the Koulibaly signing, he stated: “The priority right now is our defence, it's not a secret. We lost top players and so now we need to replace them.”
With the transfer for Koulibaly now completed, Tuchel is much happier, he shared his admiration for the defender following Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Club America in their first pre-season game, detailing: "He brings experience, quality, top defending, quality, height, everything we're looking for to play a back three or back four. It's a brilliant signing, another brilliant signing for us, and we hope that he can show his quality as soon as possible.”
He added: "He is now training outside after he arrived yesterday, and we've very happy.
"He knows some of the players - he plays with Edou with the national team and knows Jorgi from Napoli.
So, I think from this side, it will be quick that he feels welcome in the group. It's a nice group, and everyone is happy he is with us now."
While Koulibaly did not feature in the win against Club America, he could make his first appearance in a Chelsea shirt this Thursday, when the Blues take on Charlotte FC in North Carolina.
There could also be a debut for Raheem Sterling who signed a five-year-deal and was officially announced as a Chelsea player on Wednesday.
It remains to be seen as to who else will join Tuchel's squad in the summer, with returning loanees looking to impress.
Ethan Ampadu and Levi Colwill could be handed chances after Rudiger and Christensen's departures.
Chelsea take on Charlotte on Thursday as they continue their preparation for next season.