It may well seem a surprise to some that Thomas Tuchel is keen to bolster his defence ahead of the new Premier League season considering how strong it was in his first six months in charge at the club.
Under his watch, and a switch to a back five, the Blues conceded only 16 goals in 30 games as their top four charge and Champions League glory was built on an incredibly solid foundation.
Three players were mainstays in Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Reece James, while Andreas Christensen performed superbly when Thiago Silva was absent for a couple of months with a thigh problem.
Behind them, Edouard Mendy enhanced his reputation as one of the best shot stoppers around in the second half of the season, putting in a number of superb displays between the sticks to keep a clean sheet.
But, seemingly, Tuchel wants more and he has targeted Sevilla’s impressive 22-year-old Jules Kounde to add to the ranks.
It may look a surprise but on the face of it, there is some future-proofing going on. Uncertainty surrounds the futures of Christensen and Rudiger, who are both out of contract at the end of the season.
Thiago Silva is as well and he won’t be going forever. Azpilicueta has won it all at the club and isn’t getting any younger, either.
Kounde has a list of suitors as long as your arm but reports have claimed that Chelsea have leapt to the front of the pack to sign him, with Sevilla happy to sell amid some financial problems.
It is understood that the Blues do want Kounde but he has a buyout clause of €90million, a fee that Chelsea are unlikely to pay.
Sources in Spain have told football.london that a deal of €60million to €70million bid should be able to get the job done if Chelsea parted with straight up cash to bring the centre back to west London.
But there is another way that Chelsea could get a deal done and it is one that Spurs recently employed as they signed promising youngsters Bryan Gil from the Spanish side and brought him to the capital.
Gil on his own would have cost Tottenham €40million but instead, they threw in a player who was of interest to the Spanish team and that was Erik Lamela.
All told, the deal did indeed meet Sevilla’s €40million asking price but €15million of it was Lamela, with Spurs making up the difference in cash.
A lot therefore depends on how much Chelsea could value a player to put in as part of a deal. On the face of it, Kurt Zouma may well be the player that could entice Sevilla into a deal.
Chelsea don’t value their defenders cheaply. Fikayo Tomori went to AC Milan for £25million earlier this summer and Marc Guehi left the club to join Crystal Palace for a fee understood to be £18million.
Therefore Zouma, who has more Premier League experience than both of them – a lot more in fact – could command a pretty high fee if he were to be sold. Add him into a deal for Kounde and perhaps Chelsea could get a fair wedge off the asking price but would still have to stump up around €50million, football.london has been told.
A lot also depends on if Sevilla want Zouma as they won’t take a player for the sake of it. They wanted Lamela to replace the outgoing Gil so offering them a centre back for another centre back seems to make perfect sense.
Having had the early stages of pre-season to assess his squad of youngsters and returning loanees, Tuchel has seemingly identified centre half as an area he wants to strengthen and Kounde is the one he wants.
Source by Football London