Chelsea to press ahead with centre-back signing after agreeing Zouma exit

Kurt Zouma during the warm up before The Mind Series match at Emirates Stadium, London

Chelsea have, according to reports in France, agreed a £25.6million deal to sell Kurt Zouma to London rivals West Ham.

The Champions League holders have been looking to complete a deal for Sevilla star Jules Kounde for the best part of the summer. However, they need to get Zouma off their payroll first. And it would appear that he is ready to move across the capital.

The 26-year-old’s preference has always been to remain in the Premier League, with Tottenham also chasing his services.

However, the Hammers are now on the verge of finalising a deal for the France international after a breakthrough in talks.

According to both RMC Sport and Telefoot, a fee has been agreed between the two clubs. Personal terms are also close to being agreed, with Zouma signing a five-year contract at the London Stadium.

The Hammers had initially refused to meet Zouma’s £120,000-a-week wage demand. However, they appear to have backed down in that regard as the deal nears completion.

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Once Zouma is out of the door, the Blues are expected to press ahead with the addition of Kounde. The Frenchman currently has a £68m release clause in his contract with Sevilla.

Kounde has played in both of Sevilla’s La Liga games so far this season, helping the club to two clean sheets in the process.

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Chelsea star heads back to Italy

Meanwhile, defender Davide Zappacosta’s four-year Chelsea career is over after he rejoined Atalanta.

The 29-year-old right-back spent last season in Serie A on loan at Genoa and he returns to his boyhood club where his career started in 2014.

Zappacosta played 52 times for the Stamford Bridge club after his 2017 arrival and featured for them during this pre-season.

Davide Zappacosta celebrates with Cesar Azpilicueta after the 2018 FA Cup final

However, he looked unlikely to earn a regular place in Thomas Tuchel’s side as he was behind Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James in the pecking order.

It is the third time in his career that he moves to the Italian side. He joined their youth setup in 2011 and then after a spell away spent the 2014/15 season with them.

Having arrived on a flight from London yesterday evening, he revealed to Gianluca Di Marzio his thoughts on the transfer.

“It’s thrilling [to be back], I am happy, I haven’t spoken with [Atalanta manager] Gian Piero Gasperini as I still need to undergo my medical examinations, so let’s wait,” Zappacosta said.

“I’ve missed Bergamo a bit, it’s a special place for me, I made my debut here, so it’s thrilling to be back. I am here to help the team and make myself available, I’ll give my best.”

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