Jules Kounde has admitted to it being a “lively summer” after providing his honest reaction to missing out on a transfer to Chelsea from Sevilla.
Chelsea strengthened their attack with the club-record return of Romelu Lukaku this summer. Ideally, they would have liked to bolster the ranks at the opposite end of the pitch too. Kounde was a top target in defence but they refused to meet Sevilla’s raised asking price.
There has been plenty of fall-out since, with speculation that they could revisit a transfer in January if the La Liga outfit drop their demands again.
Doubts linger about the future of Antonio Rudiger, who is in the final year of his contract. Meanwhile, Thiago Silva is 37 years old, so more depth for the long-term could be required. Kounde, 22, would be a smart signing to address that issue.
He was close to agreeing terms with Chelsea before the transfer fell through and was initially angry at Sevilla for not letting him go. It was claimed he was refusing to answer calls towards the start of this month from their coach or sporting director.
However, he has since started all four of their games since the return from the international break alongside Diego Carlos, who recently claimed his teammate’s head was in the right place.
Now, Kounde has spoken for himself – painting a somewhat different picture to the one that had previously been reported.
In quotes carried by Football Espana, Kounde reaffirmed his commitment to his current club, claiming they need each other.
“As always. We all know it was a lively summer. Now it is over,” he said.
“I am concentrating on the team, on what I have to do.
“The team needs me and I need the team to perform at our best.
“At the moment, I am happy with the results, with how I am playing, though I have a lot of room to improve and to have a more complete season than last season.”
The former Bordeaux academy graduate appeared in 48 games in all competitions last season, after helping Sevilla win the Europa League the year before. He also became a full France international earlier this year and has three caps to his name.
His release clause stands at €68m, but Chelsea would hope to do business for around €50m if possible.
That said, it seems Kounde is now focused on Sevilla for another year at least. He remains under contract at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan until 2024.
Chelsea expanding defensive wishlist
When the time does come for Kounde to move on, Chelsea are unlikely to be his sole suitors. Similarly, he is no longer the only centre-back they are considering.
A recent report mentioned their interest in an ambitious deal for PSG captain Marquinhos and subsequent realisation that it may be easier to sign someone else.
The Daily Mail stated that Chelsea have now ‘concluded’ a move for the Brazilian is laced with too much difficulty.
Chelsea to be rivalled by Barcelona for Matthijs de Ligt.
Chelsea will reportedly be rivalled by Barcelona for Juventus' Matthijs de Ligt, with more news on Ben Chilwell and Aurelian Tchouameni.
Instead, citing Italian outlet Calciomercato, it’s claimed a whopping £103m deal for Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt is now being ‘targeted’.
The Dutchman, 22, will reportedly be available for £103m next summer. At that time, his pre-negotiated release clause will come into effect.
Juventus are understood to be seeking to tie De Ligt down to fresh terms. However, should Chelsea lodge a requisite offer, Juventus will be powerless to resist.
A £103m move would set the new benchmark for the British transfer record. That figure currently stands at £100m after Man City forked out the nine-figure sum to sign Jack Grealish in August.
Naturally, it would also break Chelsea’s club-record fee, currently held by Lukaku at £97.5m.