Chelsea still craves the services of Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde and will pursue to sign the Frenchman ahead of a summer move after the Spanish side blocked any move for the defender in January.
Chelsea believed they had agreed on a cut-price fee to sign Kounde last August, only to be blindsided when the Spanish club increased their demands at the last minutes of the transfer window. Chelsea refused to do business thereafter and the 23-year-old was forced to remain at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, despite having his heart set on the switch to the English capital.
The emergence of academy product Trevoh Chalobah has filled the gap in head coach Thomas Tuchel’s squad since Kurt Zouma’s departure to West Ham United. But Chelsea is still expected to move for a new centre-back with the futures of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta all uncertain as they enter the final six months of their respective contracts. Christensen himself has stopped any contract negotiations with Chelsea after Barcelona showed interest in him.
While other options such as Villarreal’s Pau Torres and Niklas Sule of Bayern Munich have been considered, reports indicate that Chelsea have come to the conclusion that Kounde remains the outstanding candidate and there is a belief within the club that he will join at some point in 2022.
Sevilla’s demands mean a January move for the defender is very unlikely, but the west Londoners are working to steal a march on any other potential suitors and agree to a transfer before the summer window opens – the same approach they may adopt with Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni.
Kounde has a £68m release clause inserted in his contract in Andalusia, and triggering it could become an option if the Blues want to avoid negotiating with Sevilla following their troubles last year.
UK based media 90min reported that Kounde – who idolises current Chelsea player Thiago Silva – is unwavering in his desire to move to Stamford Bridge and he has reiterated that to his current employers.
The France international has continued to impress this season, playing an important role in keeping eight clean sheets in La Liga as part of a stingy backline, with Sevilla mounting the closest challenge to leaders Real Madrid.
Chelsea are currently sitting second on the Premier League table, 10 points behind leaders Manchester City.