There remains a mutual determination for Jules Kounde to complete a transfer from Sevilla to Chelsea this summer, 90min understands, despite the club’s protracted takeover rumbling on.
Chelsea believed they had secured a cut-price deal to sign the centre-back last summer, only to be blindsided by a last-minute increase in demands from the La Liga club. Although he was keen on the move, the Frenchman was ultimately forced to stay in Spain as the Blues refused to come back to the negotiation table.
90min revealed in January that the 23-year-old was still Chelsea’s priority among a number of other centre-back targets such as Villarreal’s Pau Torres, and that stance has not changed despite the sanctions imposed on the club’s oligarch owner Roman Abramovich by the UK government.
Under the measures, Chelsea are unable to negotiate new contracts or sign new players while Abramovich is still the owner, with a drawn-out process entering its final stages as the three shortlisted bidders make their final pitches in London this week.
However, sources have informed 90min that the France international’s desire to make the move is unwavering, and he has been told that once a takeover of the club is complete he will be one of the first signings through the door.
Listen now to 90min’s brand new podcast, Talking Transfers, with Scott Saunders &Graeme Bailey. Toby Cudworth joins the show again this week to discuss how Erik ten Hag’s appointment may affect Man Utd’s pursuit of Paul Mitchell. There is also chat on the futures of Jesse Lingard & David de Gea and a look at what Newcastle are planning this summer.
Chelsea’s interest in Kounde is longstanding, with the player originally seen as a replacement for Kurt Zouma when he departed for West Ham last summer. However, the west Londoners are braced to lose both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively this summer, so the need to reinforce in central defence has become urgent.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Rudiger wants to leave Stamford Bridge, and 90min reported over the weekend that Los Blancos were confident of agreeing a contract with the soon-to-be free agent.
Christensen, meanwhile, has all but sealed a move to Camp Nou upon the expiry of his own contract, pending an announcement. Uncertainty remains over the future of another defender in Cesar Azpilicueta, although a one-year extension to his deal has been triggered.