Chelsea have hit an obstacle in their pursuit of Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde, with Kurt Zouma thought to have rejected a proposed move to West Ham that would have helped raise funds as well as create the necessary space in the squad.
The Blues have been primarily targeting a new striker in the transfer market this summer and are now making progress in their efforts to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge, but there has also been strong interest in Kounde, who won the Europa League with Sevilla in 2020.
Chelsea have been in talks with Sevilla since the end of July and Kounde himself is rumoured to have already agreed personal terms over a long-term deal until 2026.
However, the negotiations over the exact transfer fee have proven to be more difficult. There was hope that Chelsea might be able to send Zouma to Sevilla in part-exchange to lower the cash outlay, but 90min revealed last week that the Frenchman has made it known he wants to stay in London.
Similarly, The Guardian suggests that Sevilla did not agree with Chelsea’s £30m valuation of Zouma during the negotiations, with the Premier League side proposing a £30m-plus-Zouma package worth £60m in total. That also fell short of Kounde’s £68m (€80m) release clause.
Zouma’s determination to remain in London raised the possibility of West Ham becoming a destination for him. A sale there would still have had the impact of raising cash, while at the same time removing Zouma’s contract from the wage bill and making room for Kounde.
But the Guardian adds that Zouma is not interested in joining West Ham, despite Chelsea holding talks with the Hammers over a potential transfer fee. Instead, West Ham are tipped to turn their attention elsewhere and have recently been linked with Serbia international Nikola Milenkovic.