Sevilla refused to risk Jules Kounde in Saturday’s pre-season friendly as they want to keep him fit for his expected move to Chelsea.
Kounde is yet to play a minute in pre-season and continued that trend in Saturday’s meeting with Roma, as manager Julen Lopetegui named the Frenchman on the bench but did not hand him any game time.
Unsurprisingly, that decision fed into the transfer speculation surrounding Kounde, who is being heavily pursued by Chelsea this summer. The Blues are in advanced negotiations with Sevilla, and according to El Desmarque, the Spanish side expect a deal to go through eventually.
Sevilla are demanding Chelsea pay Kounde’s full £63m release clause, and although the Blues are prepared to pay that, they are exploring ways to drive the fee down by offering up a player in exchange. There is still some distance between the two sides, but the expectance is that the deal will get done soon enough.
Sevilla believe it is just a matter of time and do not want to do anything to risk what would be their record sale. Any injury to Kounde could kill the deal immediately, and that’s obviously not what either side wants.
As it stands, Kounde is not expected to play any minutes in pre-season until his future is resolved, and everyone involved believes the next time he kicks a ball could be at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea had hopes to close the deal for around £30m plus Kurt Zouma, but as first revealed by 90min, the Frenchman has told the Blues that he does not want to be included in the deal as he would prefer to remain in London.
Zouma’s stance is seen as little more than a minor setback for Chelsea, who have the funds to push ahead regardless and have plenty of other fringe players available for Sevilla to select.
Davide Zappacosta, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Matt Miazga and Kenedy have all been suggested as makeweights, as has the possibility of a loan move for fellow Frenchman Malang Sarr, but an agreement is yet to be reached.
Sevilla had expressed a willingness to take Andreas Christensen in the deal, but Chelsea rejected that idea as manager Thomas Tuchel hopes to tie the Dane down to a new contract.