Chelsea front-runners in Jules Kounde transfer race
As per a report by ABC Sevilla vis Sport Witness (h/t Football.london), Chelsea have emerged as the clear front-runners in the race to sign Jules Kounde. The Seville centre-back has impressed during his time in La Liga and has also caught the attention of fellow Londoners, Arsenal.
Foreign publication Le10 Sport (h/t football.london) have already stated that a deal for the youngster can cost his potential suitors around £68million. With Chelsea winning the UEFA Champions League, we look at why a signing like Jules Kounde is important for the club to continue challenging for trophies.
Chelsea need centre-backs
The transition of Chelsea from a team playing a back-four under Frank Lampard to a side that now fields three centre-backs under Thomas Tuchel has naturally increased the need to have more central defenders in the squad. But since the German manager’s takeover, Chelsea have not added to that department.
In fact, they have managed to lose one of their defenders to AC Milan this summer. The club has confirmed that Fikayo Tomori will join the Serie A side on a permanent deal. And that spells a problem for the Blues.
They also have a ton of central defenders running out of contract next summer. Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen were vital in Chelsea’s run to the UCL trophy this season, but the duo’s deal runs out in 2022. Cesar Azpilicueta is in the same boat. Originally a full-back, the 31-year-old has filled in at centre-back for the Blues.
Thiago Silva was due to be a free agent this summer but the club has offered him a one-year extension. However, the Brazilian turns 37 this year and hence can’t be expected to be at the club for years to come. Hence, the Blues’ defensive situation could be in turmoil by the time we approach next summer.
Jules Kounde makes sense for Tuchel
In this regard, Jules Kounde is a very wise acquisition. The 22-year-old still has his best years in front of him and can be a long-term asset for the Blues. Azpilicueta’s services could be required on the right flank next season. The club only has Reece James as a natural right-back.
They have been pursuing Achraf Hakimi to plug that hole, but the Moroccan looks set to join PSG instead, as per a report by Sky Sports. That could open an immediate space in Chelsea’s defence – one that can be filled in by Kounde.
Tuchel, if he signs the Frenchman, will always have the option to ease in the Sevilla man into his starting XI given his young age. And if Chelsea manage to lose a few centre-backs next summer, the French international can slot into the line-up.
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Manchester Evening News (h/t The Independent) mention that Pau Torres is close to joining Manchester United – he has a reported release clause of €65million this summer. The Spanish defender was linked to Chelsea by The Athletic. And this should warn Chelsea that waiting around can cost them their targets, which is something they should avoid doing with Kounde.