Chelsea defender pursuit stalls as major hurdle emerges in deal

Jules Kounde, Kurt Zouma, Kingsley Coman, Moussa Sissoko France training Euro 2020

Chelsea have had to put the breaks on their chase for Sevilla star Jules Kounde after trouble offloading one of their own defenders.

Blues chief Thomas Tuchel is eyeing a new centre-half and Kounde has been on the radar for some time. But there appears to be an impasse over the France international’s price tag. The former Bordeaux star has a release clause of €80m and that has been deemed too high for the Blues.

Chelsea proposed a cash-plus-player deal, with Kurt Zouma in the mix as a makeweight. The Spaniards refused to play ball over that option with doubts over Zouma’s value.

And they are holding out for more cash from the sale of the 22-year-old Parisian. The LaLiga outfit would reportedly be willing to accept €60m to get a deal over the line.

It remains to be seen if business can be done on those figures but Zouma’s name has now cropped up again. He looked set to leave, with West Ham a likely destination.

However, a report on Wednesday suggested he will now stay at Stamford Bridge and pen a new deal. There has been no confimation but it seems as though the former Everton loan star will not join the Hammers.

It leaves Chelsea in a quandary as they need to make room for Kounde, according to The Guardian. Tuchel wants the classy central defender in his ranks and big decisions may need to be made.

World Cup winner a huge Kounde fan

There is no questioning Kounde’s quality and the reason why Tuchel is continuing his pursuit. Former Chelsea star and 1988 World Cup winner with Les Blues Frank Leboeuf is adamant they should sign him.

“(Kounde) is a fantastic player,” he told ESPN. “He has everything and he is a warrior and he never gives up. He has everything and is the future for sure.

“Maybe it’s an opportunity for Chelsea to get him maybe not this season, but next season. I don’t know what Kounde wants to do in his life, if he’s ready to be on the bench more than he thinks he will be. It’s up to him. It would be a good signing for Chelsea.”

Should Tuchel fail to land his man, the German has plenty of cover. He already has four centre-backs while Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James can also play that role.

But the former Paris Saint-Germain tactician clearly wants Kounde and a deal might go right to the wire.

READ MORE: Barcelona make example of contract rebel, as Chelsea close in on transfer