Napoli sports chief Cristiano Giuntoli says they tried everything to keep hold of Chelsea signing Kalidou Koulibaly.
The Senegal defender moved to Chelsea last week in a €40m deal.
Giuntoli said: “We did consider Koulibaly to be off the market.
“Napoli want to be a virtuous club, as we have been for all these years. We tried to keep him to the end, making an very high salary offer for the current situation, but in the end it was not possible.
“I had said that we needed time, but the truth is that he told us he was not going to accept. I was trying to protect him.
“We are disappointed, but Napoli will go forward with strength and confidence for the future.”