Transfer News – Chelsea close in on Jules Kounde

Posted on by Matthew T

Chelsea are closing in on the signing of 22-year-old French centre back Jules Kounde from Sevilla. Reportedly, personal terms have already been agreed and all that remains is for the two clubs to agree on a transfer fee and payment structure.

This is according to Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, who tweeted on Tuesday – “Jules Kounde has an agreement ready on personal terms with Chelsea. Contract until 2026 won’t be a problem to be signed.” He continued, “Chelsea are in advanced talks to reach an agreement on payment/deal structure.”

Who is Kounde?

Kounde is a 22-year-old French centre-back who joined four-time Europa League winners Sevilla in 2019 from French side Bordeaux. The French international was part of the side last season that competed in the Champions League and helped the Spaniards qualify for this season’s competition too. He was also part of France’s Euro 2020 squad this summer, although he only made one appearance during the tournament.

Kounde, who can also play at right-back, has strong defensive attributes in his speed, positioning and reading of the game. In possession, he was also ranked as one of the best in Europe for his progression of the ball, either through his passing or ability to dribble passed his opponents successfully.

Who else has been interested?

Kounde has been one of the most sought after defenders in Europe over the past 12 months. Manchester City had strong interest in the defender last summer, before being put off by Sevilla’s price tag and turning to the Portuguese international Ruben Dias from Benfica instead. Tottenham have also shown a strong interest this summer but it is understood that Kounde’s preference is to play for a club participating in the Champions League next season. Manchester United have also considered the Frenchman this summer but appear to have turned to his compatriot, Raphael Varane, of Real Madrid instead. This has paved the way for last season’s Champions League winners Chelsea to swoop in.

Where will he fit in?

Since Thomas Tuchel’s appointment at Chelsea back on 26th January this year, the English side have adopted Tuchel’s favoured 3-4-3 formation. With the experienced Thiago Silva likely to lead the defence from the centre, it appears likely Kounde will occupy the right-side of that back 3, particularly with his versatility to play at right-back also.

The other central defenders currently at Tuchel’s disposal are the previously mentioned Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger, the versatile Cesar Azpilicueta and Malang Sarr, who has returned from a loan spell at Porto. Other returning central defenders Marc Guehi and Fikayo Tomori have since been sold on permanent transfers.

With Kounde likely to be a regular due to the significant money commitment and his well-suited attributes to Chelsea’s style of play, it is likely that one or two of the previously mentioned above will leave. Rudiger and Christensen are into the final 12 months of their contracts, although it is understood Chelsea remain keen to tie both down for longer. Rudiger particularly was out of favour under previous manager Frank Lampard but quickly established himself again after Thomas Tuchel’s appointment, and played an important role as the team won the Champions League. The player most likely to depart as a result of Kounde’s arrival is fellow Frenchman Kurt Zouma, who is rumoured to be interesting a number of clubs this summer, including rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

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