Sevilla president Jose Castro has explained the bold decision to turn down Chelsea’s €50m summer offer for Jules Kounde.
The Premier League club were pursuing the central defender all summer. And it looked as if Thomas Tuchel had got his man when the club lodged a €50m offer in the last week of the August transfer window.
However, Sevilla sporting director Monchi changed his mind. Instead, he demanded the centre-back’s release clause, which stands at £68.7m.
Chelsea subsequently walked away from Kounde and Sevilla kept the 22-year-old.
Now Castro has spoken about the decision, which was even more surprising given the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Castro told Diario de Sevilla: “We are the second team with the highest salary cap capacity.
“Nobody can escape the fact we are coming out of a pandemic and this year there was no choice but to give a negative financial result.
“There has been no income from season tickets, match tickets or bars. Marketing and television revenues have suffered.
“Even so, with Chelsea’s offer of €50million, the deficit was wiped out. That speaks of the strength of the club.
“I don’t know how many teams in Spain would say ‘no’ to Chelsea’s €50m and maintain this deficit, considering that the squad is worth €400m [£340m].
“The deficit comes from the pandemic, but also from choosing to build a stronger squad rather than sell in the last two markets.
“That’s called ambition and sometimes to have ambition you have to have a deficit. It’s OK.”
Chelsea defender hunt
The decision may prove to be a masterstroke, with Chelsea still looking for a central defender.
Tuchel will have Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva all out of contract next summer.
Christensen’s new deal is said to be in the pipeline, but talks with Rudiger are at a standstill, while it’s unclear whether 37-year-old Silva will continue playing.
The trio’s departure would make Chelsea’s need for a central defender greater than before. Therefore Sevilla could find themselves with an a new offer in excess of the bid they turned down in the summer.