Chelsea are trying to outdo Tottenham Hotspur in the race to sign Jules Kounde from Sevilla, according to reports in Spain, while Manchester United still possess an interest.
Kounde is one of the most promising defenders in Europe. Since joining Sevilla from Bordeaux in 2019, he has enjoyed two solid seasons. His form earned him a place in the France squad for Euro 2020, even though he had not made his international debut at the point of the announcement.
He eventually made one appearance at the tournament, but now the focus is back on his club future. He was already the subject of interest from the Premier League last summer, when Manchester City tried to sign him before opting for Ruben Dias instead.
Sevilla will not let the 22-year-old go cheaply and could ask for his €80m release clause to be paid in full. But he remains on the agenda for several Premier League sides, including Tottenham.
New managing director Fabio Paratici wants to sign two centre-backs to strengthen the squad Nuno Espirito Santo is inheriting. Spurs have been linked with a number of defenders as a consequence. Kounde is one of the biggest – and most expensive – names on the shortlist.
Recent reports suggested that his asking price may have dropped to around €60m. As such, Tottenham remained unperturbed in their pursuit. Their only obstacle would be convincing Kounde – who has Champions League football on offer at Sevilla – of their competitiveness.
That may become more of a problem if other suitors enter the race for the centre-back. Indeed, Manchester United still have him in mind despite compatriot Raphael Varane being their top target. Furthermore, Chelsea are showing an interest.
According to El Desmarque, the Blues are trying to usurp Tottenham in the battle for Kounde’s signature. There is also competition from within La Liga, where Real Madrid are the only option.
However, Los Blancos are struggling financially. So even if they sell Varane to United, a move for Kounde seems unlikely. Instead, the Frenchman could be bound for the Premier League.
Chelsea the most likely to move for Kounde
The report names Chelsea and Man Utd themselves as suitors for his signature. The latter’s interest would seem dependent on the success of their pursuit of Varane.
As for Chelsea, they are looking to strengthen their squad in all areas after winning the Champions League. They were the biggest spenders last summer and are ready to splash the cash again to spark a Premier League title challenge.
Furthermore, El Desmarque claim that Kounde is not particularly enthusiastic about joining Tottenham. Either Man Utd or Chelsea, though, have “money, prestige and ambitious goals” to convince him.
Chelsea seem the likeliest suitors, so will have to decide how to allocate their transfer budget. They are also in the market for a striker and a wing-back.