How Chelsea will line up with Kounde

Carlo Garganese

Chelsea are in advanced talks to sign Sevilla defender Jules Kounde this summer.

The Blues have earmarked a new central defender as one of their priorities and have identified the Frenchman as an ideal target following his development in La Liga.

Personal terms have already been agreed upon, with Chelsea just needing to find an agreement over the transfer fee with Sevilla.

The Blues are hoping to fund part of the purchase through the sale of Kurt Zouma to West Ham.

So how will Chelsea line up with Kounde?

CHELSEA PROBABLE XI WITH KOUNDE

Thomas Tuchel’s favourite formation since arriving at Chelsea at the start of 2021 has been a 3-4-3 formation of sorts.

This can also be interpreted as a 3-4-1-2 or 3-4-2-1 but generally involves two wide No.10s buzzing around a central striker.

Edouard Mendy will of course start in goal.

At left wing-back, Ben Chilwell will probably emerge as first choice even though Marcos Alonso has started the new season superbly. On the right side, Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta are the current options, with the former likely to play more than the Chelsea captain, who can also slot in at centre-back.

That brings us to the back three and where Kounde fits in. He is naturally a right-sided centre back, who has also played at right back on occasion.

Thus, in Tuchel’s back three, it makes most sense that Kounde will start at right centre back. Thiago Silva – although he will be rotated due to his age – will be the man in the middle of the defence. That leaves the left-sided centre back role which should be occupied by Antonio Rudiger.

Chelsea XI with Kounde

Nevertheless, it can’t be ruled out also that Tuchel switches to a back four this season, in which case Kounde would play as the right centre-back – or even cover at right-back in an emergency.

It must also be remembered that Chelsea have lots of other centre-backs who will feel they deserve a first-team shirt, including James, Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen. Don’t rule them out starting and getting plenty of game time.

The centre of midfield picks itself as Jorginho has been arguably the best central midfielder in the world in 2021 – playing a key role in Chelsea winning the Champions League and Italy the Euros. He will be partnered by N’Golo Kante, who was back to his world-class best at the tail end of last season, with Matteo Kovacic coming in often also.

Chelsea have a plethora of options in the final third, but the first choice duo behind new star striker Romelu Lukaku will likely be Mason Mount and Kai Havertz.

Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner will need to fight for more minutes from the bench.