Graham Potter risks failing 'important' Chelsea plan amid Josko Gvardiol transfer pressure


Chelsea could lose Kalidou Koulibaly next summer, with reports surfacing that the Blues are willing to listen to offers for the 31-year-old next month, hoping to recoup his fee in 2023. For Koulibaly, who joined from Napoli for £34million back in July, it has not been a flawless start to life at Stamford Bridge.

Although things seemed to head in a strong direction after a thunderous volley against Spurs coupled with a dominant display, a week later he was run ragged at Elland Road in a 3-0 defeat, shown a petulant second yellow too to compound the failure. Graham Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel in September and quickly addressed the issue, citing that the experienced Senegal international can still become an important figure.

"Firstly, I have been really impressed with him. As a person, he is honest, he understands his situation in terms of that he has had to wait a little bit to play, which every player will say that they aren't so happy with, but it is how you respond," Potter said back in October.

"His response has been fantastic, very hard- working, very honest, trained really well. I think he has come from a club and country where he was familiar with and comfortable in, and making the step into the Premier League is not so easy, and things have changed at the club. So it is not the perfect situation for him, but he is a top player, a top person, so with that character, he will play an important role for us."

Koulibaly will be hoping to impress once the Premier League restarts next week as Chelsea face Bournemouth but the longer-term concerns remain surrounding the defensive issues seen so far this season. The World Cup in Qatar only intensified chatter over a move for 20-year-old Josko Gvardiol, a player who plays on the left side of defence where Koulibaly has predominantly been deployed since signing.

Recent reports have suggested that despite Chelsea's clear interest in Gvardiol last summer, the fee from Leipzig is likely to be steep as a growing number of top European clubs circle for the Croatian's signature. The pressure is ramping up on Koulibaly to prove his worth for this season.

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