Thomas Tuchel has spoken for the first time about Kalidou Koulibaly since knowing for certain the revered defender will be one of the players he can select for the team in the season ahead.
The new signing from Serie A side Napoli joined up with the squad in Las Vegas immediately after his move was finalised. In the coming days, with the pre-season tour relocating to the east coast of the United States, Koulibaly will train with the prospect of being given match action at some stage ahead of the Premier League kick-off.
However the Chelsea head coach already knows the qualities the player possesses.
‘He brings experience, top defending quality, height, and everything we are looking for to play in a back-three or a back-four,’ Tuchel lists.
‘It's another brilliant signing for us, and we hope Kalidou can show his quality as soon as possible.
‘He knows already some of the players. He plays with Edouard Mendy with his national team and he played with Jorginho at Napoli. I think for this side it will be very quick that he feels welcome in the group. It's a nice group, and everybody is happy that he is with us now.
With Koulibaly having turned 31 last month and joining Chelsea on a four-year contract, there is confidence he can maintain in the long term the high standard he showed in Italy and when captaining Senegal to their first Africa Cup of Nations.
‘That's what we believe, and that's what he is here for,’ states Tuchel.
‘There were always rumours about him leaving Napoli. It was always super difficult and in the end impossible to get him because he was a key player there. It's nice that he takes the challenge right now.
‘We have Thiago Silva who is even older and super experienced and still at the peak of his game, so we hope that Kalidou can do the same and play many years for us.
‘He is totally fit and ready for the challenge, and he needs to be because we need him in top shape.’