Kalidou Koulibaly Al Hilal transfer: Kalidou Koulibaly has completed a permanent transfer to Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal. The defender attracted interest from Inter Milan over a return to Italy only one year after signing from Napoli. But, he has moved to move to the Middle East alongside several other Chelsea players.
N’Golo Kante has joined Al Ittihad, while Hakim Ziyech has agreed terms with Al Nassr for a move. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is on the radar of several Saudi clubs as well, and could make the move to the Gulf State as a return to Barcelona looks unlikely for him. His fellow countryman, Edouard Mendy, will be joining him, with a transfer to Al Ahli.
Koulibaly’s season with Chelsea has not gone very well, as he has looked quite shaky at the back. This is in stark contrast to his performances with Napoli, where he was the captain and was a formidable force at the back.
Kalidou Koulibaly Al Hilal transfer: The details of the move
Chelsea have finalised a transfer fee in the region of €23 million for the central defender. A three-year contract has been signed by the Senegal international, until 2026.
The player is one of the star players to join Al Hilal from Europe this summer after they completed the signing of Ruben Neves from Wolves. However, they aren’t done with their transfer activity and could sign more players from Europe.
Kalidou Koulibaly Al Hilal transfer: Why are Chelsea selling after only one season?
Chelsea have gone on a spending spree this past season, and have acquired several key defenders. Benoit Badiashile is expected to be a mainstay for the Blues, having joined them from Monaco and fit in almost immediately. Moreover, the returning Levi Colwill is set to command playing time on the left side of the central defence as well. The Cobham academy graduate spent the 22/23 season with Brighton and was very impressive.
He is now set to be integrated into Mauricio Pochettino’s plans for the coming season. And as a result, Koulibaly will be sacrificed since he probably won’t be getting as much playing time.
This leaves the Blues with five clear options in central defense – Thiago Silva, Wesley Fofana, Trevoh Chalobah, Benoit Badiashile and Levi Colwill. Marc Cucurella can also be used as a left-sided central defender, but Pochettino will have to play a back three to accommodate the Spaniard into that role.