Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde’s release clause has increased by €10m (£8.5m) ahead of the final two weeks of the transfer window.
Chelsea are chasing the Frenchman and had been determined to get a deal for Kounde over the line earlier in the window, only for Sevilla’s reluctance to negotiate and take any fringe players in exchange to leave things up in the air.
The Blues have been looking at ways to bring his £68m release clause down, but according to AS, their hesitance has actually had the opposite effect as Kounde’s clause has been increased to closer to £77m for the final two weeks of the summer window.
Sevilla have always been adamant that they will only sell Kounde for his release clause, and just a few weeks ago, there was a real belief that a £68m payment was coming eventually, but a lot has changed since them.
Chelsea have splashed out a cool £97.5m to re-sign Romelu Lukaku and have also been blessed by the emergence of young Trevoh Chalobah in defence, leaving Thomas Tuchel unsure over whether to pursue Kounde.
The change in feeling in Seville was made evident when Kounde started their La Liga opener against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday. He had been expected to miss out to ensure he did not pick up an injury and end his chances of a blockbuster move to Chelsea, so it came as a surprise to see him handed the full 90 minutes.
Interestingly, Kounde was not wearing the number 12 shirt he has had since joining Sevilla in 2019 and was instead sporting 23.
Despite playing Kounde, Sevilla are still expecting a bid from Chelsea in the coming weeks, but they remain adamant that his release clause must be met in full.
While they do not actually want to lose Kounde, those in charge in Seville are well aware that they must make big sales to reinvest in the squad and continue to grow, and there is an acceptance that Kounde will be the next blockbuster departure.
Chelsea were reluctant to pay the full £68m, but they may now be forced to go a little higher if they want to get their man.