Chelsea are poised and ready to make an official bid for Jules Kounde, as soon as they can offload one of their current centre-backs, claims a report.
Sevilla defender Kounde has emerged as Thomas Tuchel’s top defensive target. But he will not come cheaply.
The 22-year-old holds a £68m release clause within his current contract. A recent report indicated Sevilla’s stubbornness may force Chelsea into paying that amount in full if Kounde is to call Stamford Bridge home.
Now The Telegraph suggest Tuchel has been told he will need to offload one of his current defenders before landing Kounde. And the most likely departure is Zouma.
Zouma has been linked with a move to Spain. But he is understood to be keen on remaining in the Premier League.
West Ham are looking at a number of options at centre-back, with Zouma the main man on their wish-list, according to Sky Sports.
Zouma is just one of several players Tuchel is open to selling this month. Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Marcos Alonso are all players Chelsea are willing to listen to offers for.
Zouma though is the man Chelsea are hoping to wave off. That would then give Tuchel the green light to move Kounde.
Sevilla are making plans for life without Kounde and are understood to have renewed their interest in Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez.
Meanwhile, Tuchel is understood to be “relaxed” over Chelsea’s summer business.
Speculation has been rife, but the Champions League winners have yet to make a firm move in the market.
Thomas Tuchel ‘relaxed’
As per The Telegraph, German coach Tuchel though has not used last season’s European success as an attempt to leverage more transfer funds from the club.
He is believed to want a new No.9, but with Erling Haaland seemingly out of sight this summer, Romelu Lukaku is back in focus.
The Belgian has taken his game to the next level since leaving Man Utd for Inter Milan in 2019. Lukaku has operated at better than a goal every other game since moving and would provide Chelsea with a lethal cutting edge up front.
The Athletic recently claimed Chelsea had seen two bids rejected for the 28-year-old. Now, details have surfaced as to the size and structure of their latest attempt to land Lukaku.
Trusted journalist Fabrizio Romano tweeted Chelsea bid ‘€100m including Marcos Alonso’ for the forward.
That effort was duly rebuffed by Inter, though the Daily Express hint a breakthrough could yet be made.
They cite information from Sky Sports News that noted ‘it will take over £85m (€100m)’ for Inter to part ways with their talisman.