Chelsea check on Tuchel favourite as Kounde transfer alternative, as Tottenham and Newcastle prepare for battle
Chelsea have been joined by two other Premier League clubs in the battle to sign Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe, according to reports from France.
Strengthening at centre-back is the main task Chelsea will have to address in the summer. Three of their main options there – Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta – are out of contract at the end of the season.
Replenishment will be necessary, with all three looking more likely to leave than stay at this stage. Chelsea have already been preparing for this dilemma.
Their top target, since before this season started, has been Jules Kounde of Sevilla. That remains the case, according to reports cited by Get French Football News.
However, the same sources are indicating that another name on their wishlist is that of Presnel Kimpembe.
The 26-year-old has spent his entire career with Paris Saint-Germain so far. He represented their reserves between 2013 and 2016, but was already a first-team player by 2014.
Since then, he has amassed 209 appearances for the club, including 29 this season. However, his future in the French capital has now been thrown into question.
Thomas Tuchel gave him 80 appearances of his PSG career, more than any other coach. Now, they could reunite at Chelsea.
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Such an idea has been lingering as a possibility for a while. It seems it is a concrete suggestion if the pursuit of Jules Kounde does not bear fruit – or perhaps in addition.
But Chelsea may have to hurry up if they really want to sign Kimpembe. It is claimed that Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United are also interested in the left footer.
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Tottenham also have another priority target in the shape of Inter Milan’s Stefan De Vrij. Once again, it would represent a reunion between player and coach after Antonio Conte worked with him in Italy.
But Kimpembe is also on Spurs’ radar and could help plug their backline. Many regard it as a weak spot in their starting lineup.
Then there is Newcastle. After being taken over by a Saudi-backed consortium, they have the funds to spend on major targets.
They splashed out nearly £100m in their first transfer window since the takeover. Their five signings were not all glamorous, but realistic given their relegation battle.
If they can secure Premier League safety – which is looking more promising – Newcastle could show further ambition in the summer. Defence is also an area of concern for them, so Kimpembe would be a massive upgrade.
There is no information regarding a potential price tag for the 25-cap France international, who was a member of the 2018 World Cup winning squad.
His contract in Paris is due to run until 2024, but his current employers are reportedly still eyeing long-term target Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli. Therefore, they may be ready to clear some space.
Any of three Premier League clubs could consequently benefit.
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