Chelsea signing Jules Kounde won't solve Thomas Tuchel's four-man January transfer dilemma


Chelsea will need to be careful in the way they approach their expected January pursuit of Jules Kounde to avoid a sharp decline in fortunes ahead of next season. The Sevilla defender has been a target for the Blues since the beginning of the summer, with Thomas Tuchel believed to be a keen admirer.

Kounde has firmly established himself as one of Europe’s finest young centre-backs during his time with the La Liga outfit, who currently occupy third place in the Spanish top flight.

He made no less than 49 appearances in all competitions last season and earned a spot in France’s Euro 2020 squad as a welcome reward for his efforts.

Chelsea tried to secure Kounde’s signature over the summer and reportedly agreed personal terms with the Frenchman, but were unable to strike a deal at club level with Sevilla.

He stayed in Spain as a result, but the Blues are said to be keen on reigniting their interest in his services when the January window rolls around.

It seems as though a hefty financial contribution will be needed to tempt Sevilla into selling their prized asset at the second time of asking.

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Kounde reportedly has a release clause in the region of £66million written into his contract, with Chelsea’s reluctance on matching the stated fee ending their hopes of bringing him to Stamford Bridge during pre-season.

However, it will be important for the European champions to avoid paying over the odds in order to focus on tying down a number of their existing stars.

Chelsea currently have four defenders on their books who will be out of contract at the end of the season as things stand.

Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen have all failed to agree fresh terms with the west London club as of yet.

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The quartet have played a huge collective role in shaping Chelsea’s fortunes under Tuchel’s guidance and will be missed if they are not retained ahead of next season.

Rudiger has emerged as one of the Premier League’s best defenders and is undoubtedly among the first names on the team sheet as a result of his consistently strong performances in Chelsea’s back three.

Meanwhile, Azpilicueta has continued to thrive in his role as captain under Tuchel and Silva’s presence at the back has offered a great deal of quality and experience to aid his side’s incredible strength in depth.

Christensen has also found a new lease of life in recent months, with the Dane coming on leaps and bounds under the watchful eye of Chelsea’s management team.

All four players will be able to speak to foreign clubs regarding a pre-contract agreement in January if they fail to sign new deals by the turn of the year.

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The situation begs the question over whether Chelsea’s mid-season priority should be to chase Kounde’s signature or address the growing uncertainty within their own dressing room.

Rudiger and Christensen are believed to be stalling over the possibility of signing new deals due to salary concerns, while the futures of Azpilicueta and Silva are still unclear.

Even though the addition of Kounde would represent a welcome boost to the club’s defensive ranks, they still have plenty of work to do to get their own house in order.

It seems likely that Chelsea could be forced to forgo their big-spending habits during talks with Sevilla in order to focus on retaining their key assets.

Whatever happens between now and January, it will be crucial for the Blues to make the right decisions in the transfer market as they look to maintain their hard-earned standing as one of Europe’s finest sides over the coming years.



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