Chelsea face Kounde re-think as West Ham open talks over defender

Date published: Thursday 29th July 2021 4:33 - Neil Foster

Jules Kounde, Papu Gomez, Oscar Rodriguez, Sevilla TEAMtalk

Reports on Thursday claim West Ham United have opened talks with London rivals Chelsea about signing defender Kurt Zouma this summer.

The 26-year-old has been with the Blues since 2014, making 150 appearances in all competitions. It has been an up-and-down existence at Stamford Bridge for the France international. He saw plenty of action in 2015-2016, enjoying 23 Premier League appearances.

But he has also been down the pecking order and spent two seasons out on loan. The rangy centre-half was sent to Stoke City for the 2017-2018 campaign.

He made 32 starts among 34 top-flight appearances but could still not get into the Chelsea first team. It was decided to loan him to Everton the following season and the stopper was handed 28 league outings.

And it seemed as though he was back in favour in west London when playing 28 times in 2019-20. Last term, the Lyon-born ace scored five Premier League goals from 24 appearances.

But ironically, it appears as though he may now be on his way out after his most successful season for the club. Sky Sports are reporting that the Hammers and Blues have begun discussions over a possible transfer.

David Moyes is known to be in the market for a new central defender as Fabian Balbuena has left to join Dynamo Moscow and many players have been linked.

But Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol took to Twitter to air his thoughts.

“West Ham in talks to sign Kurt Zouma from Chelsea,” he tweeted. “Willing to pay £20m. Will cost more.”

Zouma favours London over Spain

It emerged earlier this week that Chelsea are targeting Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde. And it seems as though Thomas Tuchel is prepared to use Zouma as a makeweight in the deal.

Solhekol’s colleague Dharmesh Sheth has backed up his claims. And he feels remaining in the capital is preferable for the former Saint-Etienne star.

He said: “West Ham in talks to sign Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma. West Ham prepared to pay £20m – below Chelsea’s valuation.

“Zouma settled in London and – as it stands – would welcome the move ahead of being part of a potential swap deal involving Sevilla’s Jules Kounde.”

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

Whether or not the clubs can reach an accord over Zouma’s value only time will tell. But Everton and Tottenham may be waiting in the wings if talks do not bear fruit.

Both clubs have been linked in recent times but West Ham’s interest seems to have more substance.

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