CHELSEA were blocked from signing Napoli right-back Elseid Hysaj by the Serie A club.
That is according to the Albania international’s agent Mario Giuffredi.
Hysaj played under Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri at Empoli before following him to Napoli in 2015.
A move to Stamford Bridge would not have been a surprise but Napoli reportedly decided only Jorginho would be allowed to join Sarri at Chelsea.
Hysaj has attracted criticism for his performances under Napoli’s new gaffer Carlo Ancelotti.
But the 24-year-old has been defended by Giuffredi, who believes his client will respond on the pitch.
“Those who criticise him probably never make mistakes, but the rest of us are mere mortals,” Giuffredi said on Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli.
“Without that clause he probably would have gone to Chelsea this summer.
“People forget that he was one of the best two or three full-backs in Europe last season. Then it just takes two or three matches for him to become a donkey.
“I always say to let everyone talk and then respond on the pitch.”
Chelsea’s negotiations with Napoli to secure Sarri’s services as Antonio Conte’s successor dragged on over the summer.
A deal was eventually struck between the two clubs, which involved midfielder Jorginho also make the same switch.
The Italy international has started life in the Premier League in fine form, playing every minute.
He set a Premier League record for most passes in one game in last month’s stalemate against West Ham.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has repeatedly criticised Sarri following his departure.
De Laurentiis continued his attacks earlier this week, telling Corriere dello Sport: “Sarri? I thought I had met a coach who would stay at Napoli for a long time. At a certain point it became a question linked exclusively to money.
“Suddenly, it was established by the media that his contract must be adjusted. So what is the value of an agreement just signed? We had already gone from €700,000 to €1.5million.
“I also once heard him say that for his next contract, he wanted to get rich.
“Sarri’s declarations of love for the city? I believed it, but then I wondered: ‘What if he was using me as a bank?'”