Chelsea ‘close’ to £51m centre-back signing, as former target Matthijs de Ligt joins Bayern

Matthijs de Ligt training with the Netherlands

Chelsea are reportedly on the verge of agreeing a deal for Jules Kounde, while former defensive target Matthijs de Ligt has gone to Bayern Munich.

Chelsea were looking at De Ligt as a potential replacement for Antonio Rudiger or Andreas Christensen. The Blues were rivalling Manchester City for his signature.

However, Bayern got involved in proceedings recently and have now confirmed his move from Juventus.

De Ligt has penned a five-year contract with Bayern which should keep him at the Allianz Arena until June 2027.

According to Goal, the transfer is worth an initial £57million. This could rise to £65.5m as a result of add-ons.

Chelsea have known De Ligt was likely to join Bayern for a little while now and have other defenders in mind. They have brought in Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, with the Senegal international costing around £34m.

Thomas Tuchel’s side have also got back in the hunt for Sevilla star Kounde. He has been on their radar since last year, although the two clubs have never been able to agree on a fee.

This has given Barcelona the chance to land him. But according Chelsea reporter Simon Phillips, there has been a key development today (Tuesday).

Jules Kounde is available, unlike Matthijs de Ligt

Chelsea have moved ahead of Barca in the hunt for Kounde and are now ‘close’ to agreeing a deal with Sevilla for the Frenchman. This comes after outlets in Spain claimed Chelsea had submitted an offer for him.

It will be worth £51.1m plus bonuses, Phillips claims. A major boost for Chelsea is the fact there is no Barca offer on the table as things stand.

This could change, but right now the Blues are in a great position to finally bring Kounde to the Premier League.

Kounde is happy to sign for Chelsea or Barca as both teams represent a step up from Sevilla. The 23-year-old has had a great spell with the Spanish club but is now ready to take his career to the next level.

Personal terms shouldn’t be a problem for Chelsea as they sorted these out with Kounde previously.

This update just needs confirmation from someone like Fabrizio Romano or David Ornstein before Chelsea fans can display true excitement.

On Monday, Romano revealed Chelsea had restarted contact with Sevilla for Kounde. They are also in talks with Paris Saint-Germain for another centre-half, Presnel Kimpembe.

Capturing Koulibaly, Kounde and Kimpembe in one window would be great business from Chelsea. The departures of Rudiger and Christensen are significant, but those new arrivals would soften the blow.

Kounde would be an important signing due to his age. He is already a top defender at 23, but he still has plenty of years left to become a world-class player.

Meanwhile, Billy Gilmour reportedly wants to chat with Tuchel amid a surprising Chelsea stance.