Chelsea hoping to beat Spurs and Real Madrid to Kounde signing

Martin Macdonald
The stats that show why Kounde would be a fine Arsenal signing

Chelsea have identified Sevilla defender Jules Kounde for a potential transfer and have reportedly already commenced talks with the Spanish side.

Under Thomas Tuchel in the second half of the 2020/21 season the Blues had one of the meanest defences in Europe, with Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen all contributing at the back.

Chelsea would go on to win the Champions League and keep a clean sheet in the process against Manchester City, winning 1-0.

Even though the defence was excellent, there have been constant rumours about Tuchel wanting another star centre-back.

Names like David Alaba and Dayot Upamecano were mentioned before they moved to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively, while Niklas Sule of the German side has also been linked.

However, a new name has reached the top of their wishlist in the form of Kounde.

The 22-year-old joined Sevilla in the summer of 2019 from Bordeaux for a reported £21 million (€25m), so any hopeful suitors will need to eclipse that if they are to have any hope of prying him away from the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Kounde, according to Sky Italia, has a €80m release clause in his current contract, but Sevilla would allegedly be willing to accept around €60m.

Before Manchester City opted to sign Ruben Dias from Benfica, they were in advanced negotiations for the Frenchman, only for the deal to fall through.

How good is Jules Kounde?

Kounde has played as a central defender for the majority of his short senior career despite his relatively small height of 5 ft 8, but what he lacks in vertical presence he makes up for in aggression and intensity.

Although he is no stranger to a tackle, his best attribution is his distribution from the back as a ball-playing central defender.

Within the 2020/21 La Liga, he has won the majority of his duels, the majority of his aerial duels, and the majority of his tackles.

He enjoys the sixth-highest amount of touches of the central defenders in the league who have played over 500 minutes and the fifth most passes for a completion rate of 90%.

Despite Sevilla rejecting what was at the time labelled a “magnificent offer” from Man City, director of football Monchi previously praised Kounde’s professionalism since the deal failed.

“He has been professional,” Monchi told El Desmarque.

“Sometimes we are so used to seeing less professional behaviour that we are struck by the normal.

“He has accepted with normality that he has signed a contract, with a clause and some payments. I appreciate that because it’s always easier when the other party understands your position.

He has had professional and respectful behaviour with the club that has given him the opportunity to take another step in his career.”

Kounde's contract expires in June of 2024 so Sevilla are under no pressure to sell at the moment, but any offer that comes in anywhere close to his hefty release clause will be taken very seriously by the Andalusian side.