Chelsea have opened talks with Sevilla over a deal to sign in-demand French centre-back Jules Kounde.
The Blues have long been searching for a young defender capable of leading the line for the next decade, and Kounde is one of several names to have played their way on to their radar over the past 12 months.
Kounde is wanted by a whole host of sides, but according to Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea are working to force their way to the front of the queue and have opened talks with Sevilla in the hope of finding an agreement.
Gianluca Di Marzio adds that the 22-year-old is willing to join Chelsea as he wants to play regular Champions League football, and as the reigning champions of Europe, the Blues have a special kind of allure this summer.
It was that desire for European football that saw Kounde snub London rivals Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the window. Spurs had agreed a deal worth £25m plus Davinson Sanchez with Sevilla, only for the player to reject the chance to move to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
That is seemingly not going to happen with these negotiations, so it comes down to whether Chelsea can come up with an offer good enough to pique Sevilla’s interest, but there is optimism that a deal will be done.
Kounde comes with a release clause of over £70m but is expected to be available for closer to the £50m mark, although that price tag could be lowered by including players as Sevilla are keen to avoid paying too much to former club Bordeaux as part of their sell-on clause.
Bordeaux are entitled to 20% of any future sale of Kounde, so the chance to take a player in exchange and hand less to the French side is seemingly appealing to Sevilla.
Chelsea are expected to offload fellow Frenchman Kurt Zouma this summer, and if we put on our speculation hats for a second, this deal definitely screams £25m plus Zouma. If Sevilla were interested in Sanchez, they’ll likely take on Zouma instead.
If Sevilla aren’t keen, Zouma could still be sold elsewhere to raise some extra funds, with Roma and Tottenham both keen on the £25m-rated man.