Both Manchester United and Chelsea have their sights set on prising Jules Kounde from Sevilla, and the defender’s transfer admission has given a slight hint as to who will win the battle.
The French centre-half, 23, was one of the most sought-after stars in the summer window. Chelsea were heavily linked with the defender, but Sevilla’s strong bargaining position laid waste to their hopes. Indeed, the Spanish side were only willing to sell if Kounde’s reported £68.7m release clause was met – something Chelsea were unwilling to do.
While on international duty with France, the defender admitted: “Has my failed transfer to Chelsea this summer affected me? Yes, a little bit, but now it’s digested.”
His admission that his botched move to Stamford Bridge affected him would indicate he was on board with the idea of joining the Blues.
That could give them a small edge if Chelsea renew their interest. And that is exactly what ESPN claim they will do. However, a second report from the Sun claims Manchester United are now the frontrunners in the budding transfer battle.
Firstly, the Sun stated on Thursday that United are now ‘leading the way’ in the Kounde sweepstakes. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s recent shift to a back three has heightened the need for extra defensive options.
Should the Norwegian persist with the change, the article suggests Kounde would walk straight into a three-man backline alongside Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane. A January move was specifically written about in the Sun’s article.
They say Chelsea are ‘planning’ a move for Kounde, and also have Lorenzo Insigne and Matthijs De Ligt on their radar.
De Ligt – also a centre-back – would likely cost a far higher sum than Kounde. Chelsea are being linked with players in a position of strength because of the contract status’ of their current centre-halves.
All four of Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva are free agents at the end of the season.
While new deals are expected for some, just one exit could prompt Tuchel to dip into the market. The Blues have already shown in the summer that they are prepared to bid for Kounde.
Chelsea fronting queue for midfield ace
Meanwhile, Chelsea are currently in “pole” position to sign Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco. That’s despite enquiries from two other Premier League sides, according to a report.
Covering their own pursuit of the player, though, Tutto Juve claim Chelsea are the leading contenders as things stand.
The report reveals that Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Juventus have all asked Monaco for information about Tchouameni’s price tag.
After learning that a transfer may cost more than €50m, though, they have been “frightened”.
Chelsea, though, seem unperturbed. In fact, they would be willing to go up to €60m with their own offer for the 21-year-old. Tchouameni had also been linked with United and was at one point touted as the perfect foil for Paul Pogba in midfield if the French dynamo remained at Old Trafford.