Three reasons have been cited as to why a failed Chelsea transfer this summer could be a masterstroke, and even spark a cut-price January deal, according to a report.
Chelsea were made to settle for just a trio of arrivals this summer. Romelu Lukaku returned to Stamford Bridge in a club-record £97.5m deal. Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez then joined on deadline day with the Spaniard initially arriving on loan. Veteran goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli also shored up the goalkeeping ranks.
But for much of the window, the Blues chased Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde. The Frenchman, 22, reportedly held a release clause within his contract worth around £68m. Unfortunately for Chelsea, that figure rose to £77m in the final fortnight of the window.
And it was their unwillingness to fork out such a hefty sum that Sevilla manager Julien Lopetegui revealed was the main factor behind Kounde remaining in Spain.
The sales of Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma were expected to stiffen Chelsea’s resolve in their pursuit. But despite agreeing personal terms, an agreement ultimately was not struck.
Nonetheless, a report from the Expres has revealed why Chelsea’s inaction could in fact work to their benefit.
Firstly, Kounde’s arrival would have stifled the development of Trevor Chalobah. The 22-year-old impressed in their UEFA Super Cup victory over Villarreal. He backed that composed display up with another fine outing against Crystal Palace days later.
Secondly, quotes are carried from manager Thomas Tuchel that suggests he is happier working with a tighter-knit squad.
“I am absolutely happy with our squad and the alternatives we have,” Tuchel said after the window closed.
“That means we maybe don’t have the biggest squad but that we have a very competitive squad in all positions.”
Finally, Kounde’s failed move reportedly left the defender ‘furious’ at Sevilla. Reports from the Spanish press even went as far as suggesting he was not responding to the club’s calls.
As such, the Express suggest an exit could be just a matter of time. A renewed push to sign the defender in January could yield a breakthrough if Kounde’s relations with Sevilla remain strained. It’s even stated a ‘cut-price’ deal could be made to alleviate any issues.
Furthermore, Roman Abramovich was previously reported to have set aside a large sum to revisit a Kounde transfer in 2022.
Chelsea reserve admits role is “not easy”
Meanwhile, Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has spoken about his position as Edouard Mendy’s backup at Stamford Bridge.
“For outfield players, there’s a chance of coming on, but the goalkeeper surely isn’t going to play. It’s not easy. The game days when you don’t play aren’t easy.
“You need to assume your role at that point. Help as best you can. During the week, on a daily basis, push to the maximum. Doing it for you, not for anyone else, just to be prepared. To keep improving and to be ready when given the opportunity or for any circumstance.”
The 26-year-old seemed upbeat when discussing Chelsea’s recent success. They lifted the Champions League in May and beat Villarreal in the European Super Cup last month.
“It’s one of the secrets of the successes we’ve had – the team we have is filled with great players,” he added. “Everyone wants to play in the most important games.
“Those who play, those who don’t play, there’s support. Those who don’t play, they’re pushing too. It’s a group that goes in the same direction, that rejoices in the success of his teammate and that helps when someone is not having a good time.”