Chelsea are reportedly in talks with Sevilla over the signing of defender Jules Kounde, and could send Kurt Zouma in the other direction to avoid forking out £68 million.
According to the Guardian (opens in new tab), Kounde is keen on moving to England and playing Champions League football next season, but Chelsea (opens in new tab)won't trigger his €80m (£68.4m) release clause.
Goal (opens in new tab) reports that to get around the issue, the Blues are willing to include Zouma in the deal.
Sevilla have already sold Bryan Gil to Tottenham (opens in new tab) this summer and therefore aren’t in immediate need of raising cash through sales, but a player-plus-cash bid could soften their stance.
Thomas Tuchel is understood to be eager to reinforce his Champions League-winning squad, but there have been far more rumours than deals at Stamford Bridge so far.
Kounde is one of the most sought-after young defenders in European football after excelling in Spain since his 2019 move from Bordeaux.
The 22-year-old stood out when Sevilla won the Europa League in his debut campaign, and earned a call-up to France’s Euro 2020 squad this summer.
Kounde is only 5ft 8in, but possesses excellent technical ability and positional awareness and can shift out to right-back when needed, as he did for Les Bleus during the Euros.
With Sevilla’s La Liga rivals Barcelona (opens in new tab) and Real Madrid (opens in new tab) facing major financial problems, this summer appears to be the perfect opportunity for Chelsea to steal a march on a player who could well become one of the leading stars in his role in the future.
Speculation continues to circulate about potential Blues bids for Borussia Dortmund (opens in new tab) striker Erling Haaland and West Ham (opens in new tab) midfielder Declan Rice, but Kounde appears to be a more easily achievable - and less expensive - target.
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