Chelsea close in on Kounde as France star left out of Sevilla squad

Robin Bairner
Chelsea transfer target Jules Kounde playing for Sevilla in La Liga

Chelsea’s hopes of signing Jules Kounde finally from Sevilla appear strong, with the France international having been left out of the squad to face Elche in La Liga.

The former Bordeaux player has been a regular for the Andalusia side since arriving in 2019 but was not named in either the starting XI or the bench for the league clash.

Chelsea have long been on the verge of Kounde, who most typically plays at centre-back but can be used at right-back in a pinch.

One stumbling block in the deal has been the Spanish side’s inability to find a replacement for the player they expect to sell for above the €50 million that the Blues have thus far been prepared to bid.

Sevilla have made Lille centre-back Sven Botman their preferred replacement for the Frenchman, but the Ligue 1 champions are stubbornly refusing to sell the Netherlands international, having already offloaded Boubakary Soumare, Mike Maignan and Luiz Araujo from the side that won the title last term.

Sevilla star Jules Kounde playing for France ahead of Euro 2020

Chelsea, meanwhile, are making better progress in order to sell Kurt Zouma. The former Saint-Etienne centre-back is the player who will make way in their squad for Kounde to arrive, and Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that there are talks taking place with West Ham for the move to happen.

“There are negotiations between West Ham and Chelsea for Kurt,” said Tuchel in a press conference on Saturday ahead of a fixture against Liverpool.

“He is not with us because he has family issues to solve and we allowed him to travel to France."

Chelsea’s transfer activity has been restrained this summer as the Stamford Bridge side have opted for a quality-over-quantity approach.

Indeed, Jules Kounde is poised to be Chelsea’s second major signing of the summer following the arrival of Romelu Lukaku from Inter for a club-record fee.