Chelsea have made a significant breakthrough in their efforts to bring Jules Kounde to Stamford Bridge, according to reports in Spain.
The Blues are targeting the France defender as a priority signing this summer. Their defence promises to look very different next season with Antonio Rudiger already departing and Andreas Christensen soon expected to follow him out. As such, the Blues will likely try and bring in two new centre-halves.
Their interest in Kounde has been well known for some time. He first emerged as a player of interest for Thomas Tuchel last summer. The Blues even saw a big-money approach knocked back, with Sevilla holding out for his full exit clause.
However, he has remained on their radar since – and he remains Tuchel’s No 1 defensive target.
The Blues, though, are unlikely to have things all their own way. Barcelona are sniffing around a potential deal, with their coach Xavi also a big admirer of the France defender.
Barcelona though would struggle to raise the transfer fee needed to prise him from Sevilla. Furthermore, Sport claims the wage demands he is demanding would potentially see a revolt at Barca with his salary making him their top earner.
As such, Barca look ready to walk away from his potential signing, leaving Chelsea in the driving seat.
Now the Blues look to have taken a significant step towards his signing by agreeing personal terms with Kounde.
As per ABC Sevilla, Kounde has ‘astronomical salary proposal’ from Chelsea, which is ‘already agreed’ . The state he has an agreement on a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge, tying him to Chelsea until summer 2027.
Two hurdles left for Chelsea to clear
The paper claims the wages are ‘two or three times more’ than Barcelona can afford to pay him too.
As such, the report states it is likely that Barcelona will likely remove themselves from the transfer chase.
Chelsea still have some work to do before they can unveil the player as their first big-money arrival of the summer.
The report claims Sevilla continue to hold out for a fee of between £51m-£55.9m (€60m-€65m) for the defender. Indeed, they will reportedly rebuff all offers which fall short of their valuation.
It’s now down to Chelsea to meet the LaLiga side’s price; the situation made somewhat trickier by Sevilla’s recent sale of Diego Carlos to Aston Villa.
As such, the Andalusians are determined to ensure Kounde is not sold below their demands.
Chelsea could look to make the money up by offering a significant downpayment with the rest made up of bonuses.
Once a fee is agreed, however, the player will also need to pass a medical with the Blues.
And despite agreeing terms with his agent, there remains some work to do before Chelsea get this over the line.
Jules Kounde the first of many for Chelsea
The signing of Jules Kounde, if the Blues can get it done, looks a smart one for Chelsea. Replacing Rudiger is far from an easy task, but the 23-year-old certainly looks capable.
As such, he can potentially marshall the Chelsea defence for many a season if the deal goes through. Classy on the ball and no-nonsense in his approach to defending, Kounde has impressed during his three years in LaLiga.
Chelsea want to pay £50m for Jules Kounde from Sevilla
Chelsea hope to sign Sevilla defender Jules Kounde for only £50m this summer
After that, the Blues will focus on more defensive recruits, with Josip Gvardiol and Presnel Kimpembe also thought to be in their sights.
Chelsea are also seeking a new left-back and reports on Wednesday suggested they are considering a swap deal proposal from Barcelona for Sergino Dest and Alonso.
USA star Dest can also cover at right-back, with Tuchel reportedly weighing up the potential deal.