Chelsea are laser-focused on acquiring Sevilla center-back Jules Kounde and have been tracking the Frenchman for over two years now.
The Blues have already agreed on personal terms with Kounde and are now working to reach an agreement with Sevilla, who want to earn close to the defender’s release clause of 68 million pounds, although Chelsea want to reduce the cost by offering players in exchange.
Chelsea are deep in negotiations over Kounde / John Berry / Getty Images
One of Chelsea’s preferred makewights is midfielder Kurt Zouma, although sources confirmed to 90 minutes late on Thursday that he is not particularly keen on making the move.
Chelsea have not been put off by Zouma’s position and intend to continue their plans to sign Kounde regardless, and Simon Johnson from The Athletic has revealed how determined the Blues really are to get this deal done.
Not only did Thomas Tuchel put Kounde on his goal list when he joined in January, but Chelsea officials have been looking at the Frenchman for the past two years, ever since he arrived in Sevilla from Bordeaux.
Already a clear star in the future then, Kounde’s share has risen to new heights over the past 12 months. He was one of the best defenders in La Liga last season and now has the 100+ senior games that Chelsea like to look for when they bring in a young player – academic or otherwise – in the first team.
Chelsea are now believed to be in constant talks with Sevilla to try to reach an agreement. The expectation is that Kounde will end up with a Chelsea player in one way or another, but the Blues are anxious to find a way to reduce the cost before agreeing to pay his release clause.
Alongside Zouma understands 90min Davide Zappacosta, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Matt Miazga and Kenedy have all been mentioned in negotiations, but Chelsea have not yet found the right formula needed to land Kounde.
Zouma is reluctant to leave London / Marc Atkins / Getty Images
Sevilla have expressed their interest in Andreas Christensen, who only has one year left on his contract, but Tuchel wants to keep the Dane and hopes to see him write an extension in the not too distant future.
Should Christensen reject a new contract, Chelsea may be more receptive to the idea of replacing him, but the plan is still to try to find a French player who can bring down Kounde’s value far enough.