Chelsea midfielder Jorginho believes the club have signed the perfect replacement for Antonio Rudiger in the shape of his former teamamte Kalidou Koulibaly.
Germany international Rudiger joined Real Madrid earlier this summer as a free agent having been a cornerstone of the success Chelsea have enjoyed ever since Thomas Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge.
Rudiger’s combative style was ideally suited to the Premier League and after reestablishing himself as a key member of the team, having been effectively frozen out by Lampard, emerged as one of the leaders in the dressing room.
With Andreas Christensen also having departed and Cesar Azpilicueta likely to follow, Chelsea’s need for a commanding, experienced replacement was obvious and Jorginho is confident Koulibaly fits the bill.
Asked about the role he played in the Senegal international’s transfer, he said: ‘I was just a friend talking to him saying let’s play together again. I used to play with you, it’s been a long time come on let’s play together again.’
‘Oh definitely, for me it’s the best replacement,’ he added when asked if Koulibaly would prove the ideal replacement for Rudiger.
‘The best choice the club could have made together with the staff and the coach. I just really hope and I’m pretty sure he will be a big help to our team.
‘Of course we are excited because it means new players coming to help the team and help the club to achieve important things. It’s what Chelsea is all about.’
Chelsea still hope to add at least one more defender to their ranks with Jules Kounde still a possibility despite Barcelona reportedly trying hijack the deal.
Azpilicueta’s future, meanwhile, may not be cut and dried with Tuchel still working to convince the club captain to remain in West London.
Asked if he was annoyed at Barcelona pushing to sign Azpilicueta, Tuchel replied: ‘Maybe a little bit.’
Tuchel also said of Azpilicueta’s situation: ‘It’s a tough question because I am not sure if I want to give Azpi what he wants.
‘At some point it is about what we want. I just made the comparison about how much we fought for [Kalidou] Koulibaly, who is a national team player and roughly the same age. He is a hugely important player for Napoli but we have a Spanish international who is the captain at Chelsea.
‘I see him maybe at the same level but Barcelona don’t see him on that level. So I am not sure if I want to give him what he wants as he is a huge player.
‘We don’t think so much about other clubs. The focus is on us and what we need. I said that to him and I say it to you that I understand on a personal and a career level. But I am not only in this role to give him what he wants. I am a manager for Chelsea who wants to do what’s best for Chelsea.
‘He doesn’t like it but he understands. It is tough for him because the other club is permanently on him. On September 1 when things calm down, then he can play on his highest level.’
For more stories like this, check our sport page.