Kalidou Koulibaly will not "dominate" at Chelsea as he did with Napoli, according to Rafa Benitez, who has doubts about his concentration and aerial ability. Chelsea have spent big on the central defender as they continue to re-shape their squad this summer, buying the 31-year-old for £34 million ($41m) from the Serie A side.
Koulibaly was long regarded as one of the best defenders in Italian football - however, Benitez, who coached him at Napoli, says his weaknesses could be exploited more readily in the Premier League.
What has Benitez said about Koulibaly?
The former Chelsea manager told The Athletic: “He must improve his concentration at times. He can be guilty of losing focus and can be overconfident, but he has been hugely influential at Napoli and people I know and trust have told me that he has been the best centre-back in Italy during this time.
“This season will be the Premier League for him and he could be fine for the way that Tuchel wants to play. He has similarities with Rudiger - he is very good at running with the ball, he’s good with both feet.
"Is he a little bit too nice? We will see what happens at Chelsea. As I said, in Italy he was fine because he was so quick, but I doubt he will be so dominant over here.
“Aerial ability wasn't his biggest strength but in Italy that mattered a bit less and he was ok. It will be interesting to see how that develops in the Premier League but he was always very keen to learn and he spent time with me and my staff after training sessions to work on his heading and improving his technique.”
Why have Chelsea signed Koulibaly?
Despite worries about some aspects of his game and a hefty price tag for a player aged over 30 who has never featured in English football, Chelsea were keen to bring Koulibaly to Stamford Bridge.
The experienced centre-back will be part of manager Thomas Tuchel's rebuilt defence after the summer departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.
He is experienced at the top level of the European club game, having made 26 Champions League appearances for Napoli after joining the club in 2014.